Zaun is one to go in Mathews deal Catcher expected to move to Marlins by season's end

Orioles Notebook

August 23, 1996|By Buster Olney and Jason LaCanfora | Buster Olney and Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

Catcher Gregg Zaun, a member of the Orioles' organization for the last seven seasons, will be the unnamed player traded to the Florida Marlins to complete the swap for pitcher Terry Mathews, according to league sources.

Zaun, 25, currently playing for Triple-A Rochester, could remain with the Orioles for the rest of the 1996 season, as insurance against injury to either one of their current catchers, Chris Hoiles or Cesar Devarez. Contacted yesterday in Columbus, Ohio, where the Red Wings played, Zaun said he didn't want to comment on the move until it becomes official.

When the deal was announced Wednesday, it was Mathews for a player to be named. It is against major-league rules for teams to release the name of that player.

The Marlins need a backup for Charles Johnson, one of the better young catchers in baseball. Johnson, 25, is currently on the disabled list, and the two catchers being used in his place have struggled -- Rob Natal is batting .128 with no homers and two RBIs in 78 at-bats, and Joe Siddall is hitting .159 with no homers and three RBIs.

If Zaun goes to the Marlins soon, he'll likely get a chance to play regularly. If he stays with the Orioles' organization, he'll probably be promoted for the final month of the season -- and perhaps before then, if the Orioles want to keep him eligible for a postseason roster. The teams have probably already decided when he'll join the Marlins, but are waiting to announce the move.

Zaun was Hoiles' backup for the first four months, hitting .231 in 49 games and throwing out six of 35 base stealers. He was demoted Aug. 6, after the Orioles' staff concluded his play became inconsistent from a lack of regular work.

Zaun, the nephew of former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey, was selected in the 17th round of the 1989 draft.

Krivda goes down

The Orioles all but assured that pitcher Rick Krivda will not be on their postseason roster by demoting him to Rochester to make room for Mathews.

Krivda cannot be recalled for 10 days, barring an injury, and only those players on the roster before Sept. 1 are eligible for the playoffs. Assistant general manager Kevin Malone said the Orioles will recall Krivda, a left-hander, at some point in September, when rosters expand, but he is not sure when.

"We just felt like we're pretty strong right now with [Mike] Milchin as our situational guy [from the left side]," Malone said. "We feel like we've got three good left-handers in the bullpen right now. Nerio [Rodriguez] and Esteban [Yan] have thrown well and done a good job for us. And Jesse [Orosco] is our set-up guy from the left side and we want to be as strong as we can from the right side."

Malone said the Orioles have been concerned about the right side of the bullpen most of the year, and now that it seems stable they do not want to alter it. Malone said the team also wants to get more work for Krivda, so he will be starting games in Triple-A.

Krivda said he will not report to Rochester right away, since his family is visiting him in Baltimore.

Surprise, surprise

Bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks has known Eddie Murray since Murray was a minor-leaguer and always marveled at his ability.

But with Murray only two home runs away from 500, and about to fTC become only the third player in history with 500 homers and 3,000 hits, Hendricks had to admit his surprise at what Murray has accomplished.

"When Eddie was a kid he saw some veterans that he really looked up to and respected struggling, and they had played a year or two too long," Hendricks said. "And Eddie said, 'I don't ever want to get like that.' He said, 'I want to get out of this game when people are still respecting me as a player.'

"So, I never really expected him to reach these numbers. I didn't think he'd play this long."

Ready to go

Mathews arrived in Baltimore yesterday afternoon ready to pitch in a pennant race and got his first taste last night, pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

The husky right-hander joined the Orioles on the field at 5: 30 p.m. yesterday. Mathews last pitched one inning on Tuesday with the Marlins, who are not in playoff contention, and is eager to work for a contender.

"That's what every player talks about his whole career," Mathews said. "Two days ago I wasn't in a pennant race. Today I am."

Mathews was 2-4 with two saves and a 4.91 ERA for the Marlins. He had allowed 20 of 50 inherited runners to score, the worst in the National League. He had also given up four three-run homers and a grand slam in the past seven weeks.

Overseas duty for 2 O's

A major-league all-star team including the Orioles' Cal Ripken and Brady Anderson will resume Japanese postseason tours for the first time since 1992, playing an eight-game series Oct. 31-Nov. 10.

"I think it's awesome," Anderson said. "I've been wanting to go for four years."

Ken Griffey, Albert Belle, Alex Rodriguez, Mike Piazza, Chuck Knoblauch, Andres Galarraga and Ivan Rodriguez are among the players already selected for the major-league roster.

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