Cards offer battery for Bonilla Catcher Pagnozzi, reliever Parrett available in deal

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

June 01, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If the Orioles want to, they have the option of trading Bobby Bonilla to the St. Louis Cardinals for catcher Tom Pagnozzi and right-handed reliever Jeff Parrett, according to league sources.

The Orioles, according to a club source, are waiting to see if Bonilla comes out of his season-long batting funk before deciding whether to pull the trigger on a deal.

They've also talked with the Pittsburgh Pirates about Orlando Merced, the Chicago Cubs about Brian McRae -- although the Cubs say they have no interest in making that deal -- and the Florida Marlins. Florida may be looking to replace first baseman Greg Colbrunn, who hasn't hit for much power this season.

Pagnozzi, 33, is regarded as a strong defensive catcher who has a good arm, but he's fallen out of favor with the Cardinals. Sharing time behind the plate, Pagnozzi is batting .312 in 93 at-bats with three home runs and 18 RBIs. Parrett, 34, would fill the Orioles' need in middle relief. Last year he pitched in 59 games, and this year, he is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 20 games.

The major obstacle in trading Bonilla, hitting .237 after going 1-for-3 last night, .would be finding someone to take his salary, but that wouldn't be as much of a problem in the proposed St. Louis deal. Pagnozzi is making $2.675 million this year and Parrett is earning $675,000, making the deal financially comparable.

If the Orioles traded for Pagnozzi, he presumably would become the everyday catcher, with Chris Hoiles, who has had problems throwing out runners, reduced to a part-time catcher and a possible designated hitter.

"They can do what they want," Bonilla said yesterday. "Since when do I make the decisions around here? They can do whatever they want to do.

"I like Baltimore, I just don't like being the designated hitter. I xTC think they're making more of [his offensive trouble] than it really is."

General manager Pat Gillick indicated Wednesday that if Bonilla doesn't begin to produce more, the club would have to do something to improve. Yesterday, Bonilla said, "I just find it ironic they don't want me saying anything in the newspaper, but Davey [Johnson] and Gillick feel very comfortable communicating [in the paper]."

Bonilla is coming back from a sprained ankle, and Johnson says he's noticed Bonilla has been running much better. He started in right field last night.

Australian teen eyed

Gillick and international director of scouting Manny Estrada played host to John Stephens, a right-handed pitcher from Sydney, Australia, whom the Orioles are courting. Stephens' father, Michael, said his son is considering bids from five teams.

The 16-year-old, who has been pitching for two years and throws a 90-mph fastball and a curve, can sign with any team on July 2.

"The Orioles are right up there," said Michael Stephens, who was invited by Gillick to watch the three-game series with the California Angels. Stephens is being advised by Ron Shapiro's Baltimore-based firm, which also represents Cal Ripken.

Native Australian Brett Ward is scouting Stephens for the Orioles. "I think he's one of the better pitchers in Australia," Ward said.

Ripken solo . . .

Ripken said that surpassing Eddie Murray's club home run mark "in a small way and a friendship way, gives me a little bragging rights with Eddie." Ripken tied Murray's mark of 333 in his three-homer game Tuesday night, and broke Murray's record Wednesday.

"I think he's waiting for me to rub it in," Ripken said.

Ripken has played in 2,203 straight games, and the end of the streak "is inevitable, and you know it's going to happen," he said. "Like everything else, you deal with certain situations and deal with it when it happens."

. . . and the brothers Ripken

When Cal and Bill Ripken hit homers in the same inning Tuesday, it was the sixth time brothers had done so. The Ripkens have done it twice (the first time in 1990), as did Paul and Lloyd $H Waner. Hank and Tommie did it once, along with Wes and Rick Ferrell.

Surhoff update

B. J. Surhoff is expected to come off the disabled list tomorrow, and Johnson says he'll be ready to play third.

"My legs just feel heavy because I haven't been out there," said Surhoff, who worked out yesterday. When the Orioles activate Surhoff, they'll likely send down right-hander Archie Corbin, left-hander Rick Krivda or outfielder Mark Smith.

Around the horn

Roberto Alomar set the Orioles' team record for hits in April with ++ 39, and he had 40 in May. But he is far short of the club record of 49, set by Brooks Robinson in May 1961. . . . Jeff Huson, who had knee surgery about 10 days ago, says he thinks he'll be ready to come back in 10 days to two weeks. . . . The Angels' transaction wire had a familiar look yesterday as Todd Frohwirth was designated for assignment to make room on the California roster for Mark Eichhorn. Both right-handers are former Orioles.

Pub Date: 6/01/96

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