Bauer, Beattie talk in bid to clear air

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Club VP: Demoted reliever was never told he couldn't pitch in the major leagues

July 10, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

One day after venting over his demotion to the minor leagues and insisting that the Orioles were trying to get rid of him, reliever Rick Bauer called executive vice president Jim Beattie to clear the air and gain a better understanding of the move.

Bauer, who will join Triple-A Ottawa in Indianapolis tonight, was optioned after Wednesday night's 13-3 loss to Tampa Bay. He told reporters later that the Orioles said he couldn't pitch in the majors and wanted to trade him, which proved to be false.

"I had read the paper and it seemed like the message they were trying to convey to me, what I had taken out of it, kind of got misconstrued," he said. "The whole thing with them offering a trade was because they thought I was so unhappy with them, they were willing to give me an opportunity somewhere else. Since I'm not unhappy with the Orioles, I didn't know where that came from and I took it the wrong way. The message just got a little messed up.

"I wanted to clear the air because it looked like I was just completely [mad] at him, which is not the case. And once I talked to him, it made me feel a lot better about my situation."

Beattie thanked Bauer for contacting him at home Thursday, telling him, "A lot of players don't make calls like this."

"He just wanted to clear the air," Beattie said. "I can certainly understand his frustration, but to relay a conversation that didn't happen, I thought was not right. I have no motivation to say any of the stuff that he said. That he can't pitch in the big leagues? When I was a minor league director, I wouldn't tell an A-ball kid I released that he couldn't pitch in the big leagues."

Bauer was sent down for a third time this season, the news coming to him in a meeting with Beattie, manager Lee Mazzilli, pitching coach Ray Miller and director of baseball administration Ed Kenney.

Bauer is 1-0 with a 6.11 ERA in 18 appearances.

"As far as my conversation with Rick, it was reviewing what I actually told him and his he-said, she-said to [reporters]," Beattie said. "He was comfortable with what I told him when I told him again. ... We never told him he'd never pitch again for the Orioles.

"We told him he has [minor league] options; other guys don't. Guys in his position with options have outpitched him and we were going to send him down for that reason because we were at 13 pitchers and we were cutting down to 12.

"We said, `If you want to be traded because you feel like you've been jerked up and down, up and down, we'd certainly entertain that.' We weren't looking to trade him. I was just trying to anticipate some of his concerns."

Said Bauer: "I don't like going up and down all the time, but if I pitched well all the time, I wouldn't go down."

The Orioles decided to keep rookie Eddy Rodriguez, who was 1-0 with a 2.22 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings. Bauer became the odd man out.

"I think when you hear you're going to be optioned, sometimes your ears close because you're thinking a mile a minute about all these other things. He's not even listening to what I said," Beattie said. "Then once we mentioned the idea of a trade, his ears probably closed up again. ...

"I told him, `Some of the things you related to the press, you know we didn't say.' He said, `Well, I was frustrated, and once I heard trade, it was you don't want me.'"

Ponson scratched today

Sidney Ponson won't make today's start against Kansas City because of a sore groin muscle. Rookie Daniel Cabrera, who was supposed to work out of the bullpen until the second half, will take his place.

"I figured with the All-Star break and giving him extra time will help him in the second half. It's just giving him extra rest," Mazzilli said. "We're hoping this will be good for Sidney."

Ponson (3-12, 6.29 ERA) apparently has been bothered by the condition his past few starts.

"It's not where he can't pitch," Mazzilli said, "but the All-Star break is coming at the right time for him."

Ponson will throw on the side Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mazzilli also said Erik Bedard most likely will start Thursday's game against Tampa Bay.

Palmeiro moves up

Rafael Palmeiro's fifth-inning single last night was his 2,851st hit, moving him past Jesse Burkett into the 38th place on the all-time list.

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