Oates takes Henderson trade in stride

Orioles notebook

August 02, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

The Orioles' division title hopes took a big hit late Saturday night when outfielder Rickey Henderson approved the deal that sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays, but manager Johnny Oates said it does not change anything.

"There's nothing I can do about it," he said. "We'll play with what we've got."

Henderson further solidifies a Toronto offensive lineup that already was the class of the division. The Orioles apparently tried to block the deal with an offer of their own, but the Blue Jays have a habit of getting what they want in these situations.

It was the second time in July that the Orioles had been outbid for an impact player. They made a play for first baseman Fred McGriff, but the San Diego Padres traded him to the Atlanta Braves.

"Honestly, I think we made better offers for both McGriff and Henderson," said Oates, though no one in the Orioles front office is willing to say who was offered. "That's just my opinion and I know my guys better than the other teams', but looking at the stats, that's what I think."

The New York Times reported that the Athletics wanted Arthur Rhodes for Henderson, apparently too high a price. "You're limited in the number of hard-throwing left-handers you have," Doug Melvin, Orioles assistant general manager, told the Times.

Oates got tired of talking about Toronto in a hurry. The Orioles were still in contention last year when the Blue Jays acquired pitcher David Cone for the stretch run. Now, they have pulled off another coup at the expense of the rest of the division.

"I don't worry about what they got," Oates said. "I can only worry about what I've got. I can't be worrying about what [general manager] Pat Gillick and the Toronto Blue Jays are doing. They can go out and put together an All-Star team for all I can do about it."

The clubhouse reaction was one of resignation. No one really expected the deep-pocketed Blue Jays to do any less.

"It looks like they're trying to win the World Series again," reliever Mark Williamson said. "They felt they needed a left fielder. Henderson was available and I don't think monetarily that they really care."

Teammate Ben McDonald viewed it the same way.

"They already have the best lineup in baseball," McDonald said. "Now, it's an incredible lineup. They have the best team in the East right now -- probably in baseball. Henderson just makes it that much stronger."

Anderson still banged up

Left fielder Brady Anderson took more of a beating than previouslyreported when he landed hard on a slide into third base Friday night. Anderson, who missed Saturday's game with a jammed little finger on his right hand, was held out of yesterday's game with a bruised shoulder.

"The finger is better today," Oates said yesterday. "The shoulder didn't bother him that much yesterday, but it's hurting him today. We'll give him tomorrow [today] off against the left-hander [Angel Miranda] and he'll be ready Tuesday."

Anderson hit the ground hard sliding into third in the eighth inning of Friday night's 8-7 loss to the Red Sox. He landed chest-first and slammed his face into the dirt, to add a combination of new bumps and bruises to a long list of 1993 injuries.

Clemens bitten by dog

No good deed goes unpunished. Boston pitcher Roger Clemens stopped on the Jones Falls Expressway yesterday morning to help an injured dog and ended up getting bitten on his pitching hand.

Clemens was driving around 6:30 a.m. when he spotted the dog, which apparently had been hit by a car. The Red Sox right-hander intended to transport the animal to a shelter, but it snapped at him and cut the thumb on his pitching hand.

Clemens went to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he received a precautionary tetanus shot. No stitches were required.

Clemens is expected to take his next turn in the Red Sox rotation.

The dog apparently had to be put to sleep. It was tested for rabies, but the result was not available.

Decision day

Today in federal bankruptcy court in New York, a judge is scheduled to decide which of four bidding groups will purchase the Orioles. In a first round of bidding, the price was established to be at least $146 million, a record for a baseball team.

The proceeding is taking place in court because Orioles owner Eli S. Jacobs is in bankruptcy.

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