The Orioles added reliever Norm Charlton to the 40-man roster yesterday and designated pitcher Hector Ramirez for assignment. Charlton, 35, who was signed to a minor-league contract on Dec. 15, will vie for a setup role and provide another option at closer after the departure of Randy Myers.
Charlton was guaranteed $350,000 upon signing, a figure that would have jumped to $650,000 if he made the major-league roster. Assistant general manager Kevin Malone said yesterday that the increase now will take place on a fixed date toward the end of spring training, before the Orioles' March 31 season opener against the Kansas City Royals at Camden Yards. The left-hander's total salary for next season could escalate to $2.1 .. million if every bonus condition is met.
Charlton went 3-8 with a 7.27 ERA last season with the Seattle Mariners and converted 14 of 25 save opportunities. For his career, Charlton is 43-48 with a 3.50 ERA and 95 saves.
Ramirez was acquired from the New York Mets on March 22 in exchange for shortstop Manny Alexander, who later was dealt to the Chicago Cubs. Ramirez went 8-7 with a 4.91 ERA in 39 games with Triple-A Rochester.
The Orioles also announced that 13 players signed to minor-league contracts have been invited to spring training, including last year's first-round draft picks, catcher Jayson Werth and outfielder Darnell McDonald, and third baseman Ryan Minor, the Orioles' Minor League Player of the Year.
Pitchers Kevin Gallaher, Doug Johns and Francisco Saneaux also will join the club in Fort Lauderdale, along with catchers Jimmy Foster and Chip Alley, infielders P. J. Forbes, David Lamb, Willis Otanez and Mitch Simons and outfielder Miguel Mejia. Simons spent the past three years with Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City, and Mejia played in the St. Louis organization the past two seasons after being selected from the Orioles in the 1995 Rule 5 draft. Otanez was dropped from the 40-man roster and designated for assignment last month after the club signed Harold Baines.
Orioles pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 15, with the first workout taking place the next day. Position players will report on Feb. 20, with the first full-squad workout the next day. The Orioles open their exhibition schedule on Feb. 28 against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.
FanFest set for Jan. 31-Feb. 1
The annual Orioles FanFest will take place Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Feb. 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Baltimore Convention Center across the street from Camden Yards.
The two-day event will include children's clinics, interactive games, fan forums with Orioles coaches, front-office executives and media members, baseball card and memorabilia dealers, museum exhibits and autograph and photo sessions.
Among those scheduled to take part are players Mike Mussina, Scott Erickson, Doug Drabek, Lenny Webster, Mike Bordick, Jeff Reboulet and B. J. Surhoff, manager Ray Miller and coaches Rick Down, Elrod Hendricks and Sam Perlozzo.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children each day.
Individual game tickets
Individual game tickets for 1998 home games will go on sale Jan. 31 at the Orioles Box Office and through all Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster phone charge.
Pub Date: 1/10/98