Tackett wins No. 2 catching job

March 31, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer Staff writer Mark Hyman contributed to this article.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jeff Tackett has won the backup catching job, leaving veteran Rich Gedman clinging to the hope the Orioles will decide to open the season with three catchers.

Gedman, 34, spent last season playing for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in Columbus, Ohio.

Asked if he would agree to start the season playing for Triple-A Rochester, Gedman declined to say.

"Johnny knows where I stand on it," Gedman said. "He said when the time comes we'll address it."

Oates said he has not talked to Gedman about that possibility.

"If it came to be fact that he is not going to make our roster, then I would talk to him about that," Oates said. "I don't deal with hypothetical situations. I deal in fact. I will talk to him after a decision has been made."

Tackett, the strongest defensive catcher in camp, is hitting .333 with two home runs and eight RBIs. Gedman is batting .160.

Roster makeup

Barring injuries or a trade, only two roster decisions remain.

Outfielder Damon Buford appears to lead infielder Rene Gonzales and Gedman, who only will make the cut in the unlikely event the Orioles carry three catchers.

The winner will join Tackett, outfielders Lonnie Smith and Jack Voigt, and infielders Tim Hulett and Leo Gomez on the Orioles' bench.

Oates will decide between either veteran Mark Williamson or rookie Mike Oquist will earn the final spot on the 10-man pitching staff.

Oquist has options remaining. By cutting Williamson, the Orioles would be running the risk of losing him. Oquist has given the Orioles reason to consider him by posting a 1.84 ERA with two walks and 12 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings.

Even if he is optioned to Triple-A Rochester, Oquist has left a positive enough impression to have cause to stay close to his telephone.

Expected cuts today will bring the roster below 30 with a reduction to 25 likely on Sunday.

Tickets dispute resolved

Frank Storch will be going to Camden Yards again this year, but he apparently will be taking fewer of his friends.

Storch, a Baltimore real-estate developer and former business partner of the Orioles, settled his dispute with the team yesterday by agreeing to give up more than half of his 37 box seats at Camden Yards.

Storch kept 16 of his prime seats as part of a deal worked out before a scheduled hearing at Baltimore City Circuit Court. He also released the Orioles from an agreement with previous team owners, entitling him to renew the tickets for as long as he liked.

New Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos had objected to Storch's large block of tickets, saying the seats should be distributed to more fans.

In a lawsuit filed this month, Storch's lawyers argued that his tickets couldn't be revoked because of the agreement with the past owners.

"This is good for Frank because he can put this matter behind him and get on with his life," said Storch's lawyer, Aron Raskas.

Orioles attorney H. Russell Smouse said the settlement moves the team closer to its goal of "a wider and more equitable distribution of season tickets."

McLemore eager to return

Mark McLemore, struck near the right eye during a hitting drill Tuesday, is not expected back until Saturday, though he is lobbying for an earlier return.

"That's the last game before the season starts," McLemore said. "I would like to come back before that, but we'll see."

Ticket update

The best availability for tickets at Camden Yards during the season-opening, five-game homestand is for the April 8 game against Texas. Roughly 5,700 tickets remain for that Friday night game.

ORIOLES TODAY

Opponent: Chicago White Sox

Site: St. Petersburg, Fla.

Time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

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