Gillick confirms interest in reliever Jackson GM says Orioles 'possibly' searching for catcher, too

November 02, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

General manager Pat Gillick yesterday confirmed the Orioles' interest in free-agent reliever Mike Jackson and said the club also is "possibly" interested in a free-agent catcher.

Gillick spoke with Jackson's agent Thursday. Jackson, a right-hander, was 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA for Seattle this season, with 70 strikeouts in 72 innings. Jackson, who turns 32 in December, battled through elbow tendinitis in 1994 and '95 and has a lifetime 3.33 ERA.

"He [Gillick] said Baltimore is interested in Mike," said Arthur Rosenberg, Jackson's agent. Rosenberg said he has been contacted by five teams since Jackson filed for free agency.

Gillick would not confirm interest in any particular free-agent catcher but said he may have "possibly" contacted agents for several of them. An abundance of catchers have filed for free agency, including St. Louis' Tom Pagnozzi, Oakland's Terry Steinbach, Philadelphia's Benito Santiago, Boston's Mike Stanley, Cincinnati's Joe Oliver and Don Slaught, who played for the Chicago White Sox.

Two other free agents the Orioles are interested in both appear to be intrigued by the possibility of playing with the club.

Patrick Elster, the agent for free-agent shortstop Kevin Elster, said he has not yet heard from Gillick but expects to soon. Gillick already confirmed the Orioles' interest in Elster. Patrick Elster said of the three teams he believes have "serious interest" in his brother, "Baltimore and Texas would be the two he wouldn't mind playing for."

Elster had a career year with the Rangers, batting .252 with 24 homers and 99 RBIs. Oakland's free-agent shortstop Mike Bordick also is drawing interest from the Orioles, who hope to move Cal Ripken to third base next year.

Ripken's agent, Ron Shapiro, said he would like to arrange a meeting with Gillick to discuss that potential move to third. Gillick said he would be open to such a meeting.

Gillick also has made contact with John Hamilton, who represents his brother, Rangers free-agent center fielder Darryl Hamilton. Hamilton is a defensive whiz with good speed and a lifetime .291 average.

John Hamilton said four teams have contacted him thus far. Hamilton said Gillick told him Darryl is the only center fielder the -- Orioles are interested in, but Gillick would not comment on that.

Hamilton said his brother would enjoy playing at Camden Yards and is close friends with Orioles outfielder B. J. Surhoff.

Gregg Clifton, the representative for free-agent starter David Wells, said he plans to speak with the Cleveland Indians again early next week. The Orioles also have met with Clifton, and would like to re-sign the left-hander to a two-year deal.

"Cleveland has been very open, and they said they are very much interested in having David join their staff for 1997," Clifton said.

NOTE: Surhoff underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his left knee and team doctor Michael Jacobs said Surhoff should be "100 percent" for spring training.

Pub Date: 11/02/96

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