O's field interest in Alexander Injury to Mets SS Ordonez could result in trade

Orioles notebook

March 12, 1997|By Buster Olney and Roch Eric Kubatko | Buster Olney and Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Manny Alexander may soon get the trade he has wanted for three years.

The Orioles and Mets are discussing a potential deal that would send Alexander to New York, which may be concerned about the physical well-being of shortstop Rey Ordonez. Last week, Ordonez was sidelined by a sore shoulder, and the team is sending him for a magnetic resonance imaging scan today.

The Orioles also have had brief talks about Alexander with the Philadelphia Phillies. Orioles assistant GM Kevin Malone wouldn't confirm or deny any specific negotiations, but it's no secret the team is looking to deal Alexander, formerly the longtime heir apparent to Cal Ripken.

"There's more interest now than there's been in a long time," Malone said. "The interest seems to grow as the days come and go. If the right opportunity comes along, we'd like to give him an opportunity to go somewhere and establish his career."

Other Irabu bids look better

The Orioles did not hear from the San Diego Padres yesterday about Hideki Irabu, and a source familiar with the negotiations indicated that the Orioles are not a serious contender for the Japanese pitcher.

The Orioles have offered outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds and pitcher Jimmy Haynes, but the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and Mets apparently have more compelling offers. The Padres may make a deal today or tomorrow.

Mussina sharp in victory

Mike Mussina (2-0, 1.00 ERA) had his longest outing of the spring last night, going four shutout innings in the Orioles' 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. He allowed two hits and no walks, then threw on the side.

Tony Tarasco doubled in two runs off reliever Edgar Ramos during the Orioles' four-run fifth inning. Ramos gave up four hits, walked two and threw three wild pitches.

Alexander, starting at second base, had an infield hit and a two-run homer, his second this spring. Reliever Jesse Orosco was charged with three runs in the seventh, when the Phillies reduced the lead to 6-4.

The Orioles (10-2-1) have won six in a row and nine of their past 10.

Schilling: once and future O?

Former Orioles right-hander Curt Schilling was in the Phillies' traveling party for yesterday's game. With free agency looming and unable to agree on a contract extension, he has an uncertain future with the club. And Schilling has made no secret about his affection for the Orioles, who traded him to the Houston Astros after the 1990 season as part of the package for Glenn Davis.

"I have a lot of fond memories of being an Oriole. It's a class organization with a lot of first-rate people," he said.

If Schilling doesn't agree to contract extension by next week, he could be available in a trade by midseason.

Manager Davey Johnson, sitting in the dugout before last night's game, spotted a Phillies player wearing No. 38 and asked if it was Schilling. Told it was, Johnson stood up and said, "I'd better go ask him how he likes Baltimore."

Daulton also interested

The Orioles intend to fill the designated hitter role by committee this year, but that might change if an opportunity arises to acquire a quality run-producer to fill the role on a full-time basis.

Phillies veteran Darren Daulton could become available during the next couple of weeks, and -- if the Phillies would be willing to pick up a significant portion of his $5 million salary -- the Orioles just might be interested.

"When you're talking about a player of Darren's caliber, we'd always be interested," Malone told the Philadelphia Daily News yesterday. "If we heard he's available, and we haven't heard that yet, we'd have to consider it."

Daulton, who homered off Orosco in the seventh and off Terry Mathews in the eighth last night, is a "five-10" player (five years with one club and 10 years in the majors), so he has veto power over a trade, but he indicated that he would not resist a trade to the Orioles.

"I think Baltimore, out of all the choices, would be right at the top of the list," Daulton said.

Minor among cuts

The Orioles cut eight more players, reducing the number in camp to 41.

Outfielder Danny Clyburn was optioned to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, outfielders Wady Almonte and Eugene Kingsale and pitcher Julio Moreno were optioned to the Double-A Bowie Baysox, pitcher Francisco Saneaux was optioned to the Single-A bTC Frederick Keys, and 6-foot-7 third baseman Ryan Minor, catcher Melvin Rosario and infielder Aaron Ledesma were assigned to minor-league camp in Sarasota.

Minor, who was an All-America basketball player his junior year ,, at Oklahoma, had one hit in seven exhibition at-bats, but the club loves his athleticism.

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