Krivda's days with O's might be near an end Out of options, pitcher could leave team via waivers or free agency

March 22, 1997|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orioles manager Davey Johnson sat behind the desk in his office before last night's game, gazed at a small group of reporters and said, "Make it easy on me, guys. I've already had a tough day."

He had spent about three hours in an organizational meeting, then had to inform six more players they wouldn't be on the Opening Day roster.

The most notable was left-hander Rick Krivda, who won an important game last September in Boston and was a candidate to be the fifth starter. Krivda, reliever Archie Corbin and catcher Cesar Devarez were told there was a possibility they were being outrighted, and must inform the club by Monday if they will declare free agency or accept a minor-league assignment, should they clear waivers.

It's a complicated process that is necessary because each player already has been outrighted once and is out of options.

"I think that in a couple cases we'll lose those players to other clubs," Johnson said. "It might be a good opportunity for them."

In addition to those moves, pitcher Nerio Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Rochester, pitcher Giovanni Carrara was assigned to the minor-league camp in Sarasota, and infielder Danny Magee, a Rule 5 draftee, was offered back to the Atlanta Braves.

Krivda pitched well last spring, but was beaten out by Jimmy Haynes for the last spot in the rotation. He was sent down twice more, then defeated the Red Sox, 6-2, on Sept. 25, maintaining the Orioles' 1 1/2 -game lead in the wild-card race. It also was the first win by an Orioles fifth starter since late May.

This spring was a much different story for Krivda. He gave up 19 hits in eight innings, and his ERA stood at 11.25. Opposing hitters were batting .463 against him.

"I like Rick, but he didn't throw the ball anywhere near like he did last year or last spring," Johnson said. "I think he was just too pumped up."

Krivda, 27, warmed up during last night's game. "The club always decides whether I'm pitching or not," he said. "Davey told me he was going to put me on waivers, so we'll wait and see what happens the next 72 hours."

Krivda's most recent outing was last Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, when he gave up five runs on nine hits in three innings.

"I know I haven't pitched that well. Actually, the last couple times have been a little bit better. Maybe the numbers don't show it. The way things went last spring, when I thought I should have made the team, I wasn't really concerned with the numbers.

"I really want to pitch for this organization, but right now I don't know. I have some things to talk over with my agent. My brother's near there [in Baltimore] -- I'm living with him right now -- and I have some family there. Just the thought of having to pick up and going maybe to the West Coast, it really would be a start-over. But I'm young, single, I don't have any kids. It's pretty easy to move around. It's like a win-win situation."

The decisions on Krivda, Corbin and Devarez hit Johnson the hardest.

"They were part of our success. Anytime you contemplate a change such as this, it's very difficult," he said. "Hopefully, they won't be claimed and choose to stay with us. But we can't take them all north. As far as I'm concerned, I'd want them to stay in the organization and I expressed that to all of them."

Corbin, who appeared in 18 games last season, had a 5.14 ERA in seven innings this spring. Devarez, known more for his strong throwing arm, was batting .333 (5-for-15) with two RBIs.

Rodriguez, Carrara and Magee were long shots to make the club.

Magee, hitless in 11 at-bats, had to remain on the 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Braves, who have 72 hours to respond.

Rodriguez began last season at Single-A Frederick and appeared in eight games with the Orioles, making one start.

Carrara pitched with the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds in 1996.

"Giovanni didn't get a whole lot of opportunities to do a lot [this spring]. We know he can pitch. We would have welcomed him last year, we were so short," Johnson said.

"Nerio is knocking on the door. He just needs to pitch. He's awfully good insurance if something happens."

The option of Rodriguez and Carrara's assignment leave the Orioles with 37 players in their major-league camp, including 16 pitchers.

Pub Date: 3/22/97

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