Zaun says team lied to him rips veterans, too

Catcher traded to Marlins says he didn't get fair shot

August 24, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

The Orioles assigned Gregg Zaun to the Florida Marlins yesterday, completing the trade for pitcher Terry Mathews. But Zaun did not go quietly, saying that he believes he was lied to and that some of his former veteran teammates did nothing to help young players.

"I know if you put a group of 25 guys together, not everybody is going to get along," Zaun said from the Detroit airport. "But certain guys on the team made it difficult for the younger guys to be themselves and express themselves. It seemed like they were negative toward myself and one or two of the other young guys. They beat down the younger guys, instead of picking them A few guys helped the younger guys, but the majority, no."

Zaun thanked a few players by name, and declined to mention by name those whom he criticized.

"I'm always going to remember guys like Brady [Anderson], Jesse Orosco, Alan Mills, Arthur Rhodes," said Zaun. "I'm going to be friends with those guys for a long time. And Rafael Palmeiro and Bobby Bonilla, and Cal [Ripken]. Most of the other guys, the players and the coaching staff, they talked behind my back.

"I know I got blamed for other guys' failures, guys making $2 million and $3 million. I'm definitely not going to miss that."

Zaun said that he never felt like he was on solid ground with the new managing staff, or that he was part of its long-term plans. "People said some things to me. . . . I prefer being told the truth, rather than being lied to," he said. "There was definitely two or three incidents when I was definitely lied to.

"The way they did things when [Chris] Hoiles was struggling, I never felt a part of things. . . . I should've been given an opportunity to play every day. Some will say that I got that opportunity, starting like 10 out of 20 games, but I never got the chance to play [day after day]. When they sent me down, they said I was going to be called back up in 10 days. Instead, they wait until just before I go through my last option and then they trade me.

"That's baseball, and it's a business. But it's funny that when a ballclub doesn't show any loyalty to a player, it's a business. But when a ballplayer does something like that, they say he's not loyal."

The Orioles placed Zaun on waivers so the Marlins could claim him. He'll join Florida today and the Marlins' long-term plan is to use him as backup for Charles Johnson.

"I'm pretty fired up," said Zaun. "I'm going to be backing up a guy who has already won a Gold Glove and who's a year younger than me."

The trade of Zaun leaves the Orioles thin in experienced catchers, a weakness that would manifest itself only if Hoiles or Cesar Devarez get hurt. The Orioles have B. J. Surhoff -- who hasn't caught this season -- in an emergency, and Triple-A catcher B. J. Waszgis as a backup.

Pub Date: 8/24/96

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