Talks with Loewen at a standstill

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

team in danger of losing its top pick

Pitcher seeking bonus similar to Phillies' Floyd

Bordick may play tonight

Notebook

August 16, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS - Ten days from potentially losing the rights to their No. 1 draft pick, Adam Loewen, the Orioles remain at a standstill in the negotiations.

Loewen, a left-handed pitcher out of Fraser Valley High in British Columbia, has a scholarship offer waiting at Arizona State, where classes start Aug. 26, and if he attends one class, the Orioles will lose his rights.

Shortly after selecting Loewen with the fourth overall pick in the June amateur draft, the Orioles made an offer of about $2 million. Loewen is seeking closer to the $4.2 million bonus last year's No. 4 pick, Gavin Floyd, received from the Philadelphia Phillies.

"There has been no movement," said Orioles scouting director Tony DeMacio.

The Cincinnati Reds signed No. 3 overall pick Chris Gruler for $2.5 million, but none of the other top five picks has signed.

The Orioles have signed 21 of their first 23 picks, and it would be considered a coup if they could sign Loewen and their 11th-round pick, Mark McMormick, a right-handed pitcher out of Clear Creek High in Texas.

They were considered two of the four best high school pitchers in the draft, but teams shied away from McCormick because he committed to Baylor and aligned himself with agent Scott Boras.

Bordick set to return

Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick said he anticipates being activated from the disabled list for tonight's game against the Detroit Tigers. Bordick missed 28 games after fracturing his right kneecap on July 15.

With Orioles batting practice pitcher Vince Horsman making hard throws from 50 feet, Bordick hit one of his first offerings over the wall yesterday during early batting practice.

"I feel good," Bordick said. "Running around out here on the [Metrodome] turf the past few days, it's felt fine."

Rookies key to victory

The Orioles and Twins were deadlocked for 13 innings late Wednesday night until rookie catcher Geronimo Gil came up with two outs in the 14th inning and hit his first home run since June 18, giving the Orioles a 6-5 victory.

"He picked a good time to end his three-month slump," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.

Rick Bauer pitched four innings of scoreless relief, throwing 53 pitches in perhaps his finest performance as an Oriole. "I kind of felt like a starter," Bauer said. "I couldn't screw up at all, but I didn't put any added pressure on it."

Second opinion

Before making a decision on whether to have surgery to repair the torn labrum in his right shoulder, Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson will consult with Anaheim Angels team physician Lewis Yokum.

Orioles physician Charles Silberstein has recommended Ponson rehabilitate the injury and not have surgery since it is an injury he appears to have suffered two years ago.

Thrifts have surgery

Orioles vice president for baseball operations Syd Thrift underwent surgery for a hernia Wednesday in Bethesda, and later in the evening his son Jim, a professional scout with the Cincinnati Reds, underwent an emergency appendectomy in Sarasota, Fla.

Father and son were both feeling fine yesterday.

"He called me and said, `I guess we had a doubleheader today,' " Thrift said.

Suspensions on hold

With Major League Baseball president Bob DuPuy wrapped up in labor negotiations, the Orioles caught a break regarding the suspensions given to Melvin Mora and Willis Roberts, stemming from the July 28 brawl in Boston.

Mora was suspended four games, and Roberts seven games, but both appealed their suspensions, allowing them to keep playing until DuPuy can hear their cases. The Orioles don't expect that to happen until Sept. 10, when they'll be in New York to play the Yankees. By then, those losses will have less impact because rosters can be expanded to 40 players.

Around the horn

Former pitchers Dennis Martinez and Hoyt Wilhelm and late public address announcer Rex Barney will be inducted into the Orioles' Hall of Fame before Sunday's game against the Tigers. The three will also be honored at a luncheon today at Camden Yards. ... Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, the first voice of the Orioles, will make his final trip to Baltimore with the Tigers this weekend. To commemorate the event, he will call the fifth inning of tonight's game on WBAL Radio. The Orioles plan to have Harwell throw out the first pitch before Sunday's game. ... Orioles public address announcer Dave McGowan will miss this weekend's series after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.

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