Orioles, Ripken get close to agreeing on extension Gillick hopes to see issue resolved in next few days

Orioles notebook

March 15, 1997|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Negotiations between the Orioles and third baseman Cal Ripken apparently have progressed to the point where a deal could be finalized in the next few days.

General manager Pat Gillick said yesterday that he still is waiting to hear back from agent Ron Shapiro, but seemed confident that the club will finalize Ripken's contract extension soon. Ripken refused to comment on the negotiations, except to say that he was optimistic that a deal would get done.

The Orioles have offered a two-year guarantee at an annual salary of $6.2 million with a club option for a third year at the same salary or a $1 million buyout. Shapiro's last known request was a three-year, fully guaranteed contract worth $21.25 million, but both sides are believed to have modified their proposals in the last few days.

Orioles officials are stuck on the two-years-and-an-option format because owner Peter Angelos has steadfastly refused to guarantee the third year, but could compromise by raising the value of the buyout or adopting a qualifying option -- perhaps guaranteeing the 2000 season if Ripken reaches a certain number of game appearances in 1999.

Gillick said yesterday that he also has been in regular contact with the agents for pitcher Mike Mussina and center fielder Brady Anderson, and still is holding out hope of signing both of them to contract extensions by Opening Day.

Both players have indicated that they -- like Ripken -- will cut off negotiations when the regular season starts, and Mussina repeated yesterday that his refusal to negotiate during the season is "ironclad."

Coppinger start delayed

Right-hander Rocky Coppinger was scheduled to make his fourth start of the spring yesterday against the Atlanta Braves, but an afternoon cloudburst washed out the game in West Palm Beach.

His next start will take place instead on Sunday in a split-squad game against the Chicago White Sox at Sarasota.

Injury update

Left-hander Arthur Rhodes still is experiencing some soreness in his left knee, but the swelling has subsided and he was on the list of pitchers available to throw against the Braves yesterday.

"There still is some pain," he said, "but it's getting better. I'm not worried about it."

Right-hander Alan Mills was treated for some neck stiffness the past couple of days, but has not altered his workout routine or pitching schedule.

Outfielder Tony Tarasco has been hampered by a tight right quadriceps and is being treated with electronic muscle stimulation.

"I've had this for about a week," he said. "We're just being cautious."

Orioles today Exhibition opponent: Los Angeles Dodgers

Site: Fort Lauderdale, Fla

Time: 1: 05 p.m.

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM), WTOP (1500 AM)

Starters: Dodgers' Ismael Valdes vs. Orioles' Rick Krivda

Spring break

What the Orioles did yesterday: The Orioles' exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves in West Palm Beach was rained out, forcing manager Davey Johnson to push scheduled starter Rocky Coppinger back into a split-squad game Sunday against the Chicago White Sox at Sarasota.

What they'll do today: The Orioles face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Fort Lauderdale Stadium at 1: 05 p.m. The top three candidates for the fifth starter role -- Rick Krivda, Shawn Boskie and Scott Kamieniecki -- all are scheduled to pitch for the Orioles. Right-hander Ismael Valdes is scheduled to be the starter for the Dodgers.

You know it's spring training when: The Orioles stayed in Fort Lauderdale until 11: 30 a.m. before boarding the bus for the 1: 05 p.m. game in West Palm Beach, hoping to get notification that the game had been postponed before making the hour-long trip. Of course, they got the word that the game was on, made the trip, and then sat in the clubhouse for about an hour before being informed that the game had indeed been called off.

Pub Date: 3/15/97

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