O's keep Julio, Ryan from possible suitors as waiver wire heats up

O's pull back relief duo

Groom, Grimsley could be had

Surhoff is Phelps fan

August 14, 2004|By Joe Christensen and Roch Kubatko | Joe Christensen and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

TORONTO - With teams trying to pass players through waivers to keep their trade options open before the Aug. 31 deadline to set playoff rosters, two Orioles who don't have to worry about being traded are Jorge Julio and B.J. Ryan.

Those two were claimed this month, so the Orioles pulled their names back, according to a major league official familiar with the team's moves.

Julio and Ryan were two of the most coveted relievers on the market. Julio has converted 18 of 20 save opportunities, and Ryan has posted a 1.72 ERA.

Confirming a report by, the major league official said three of the Orioles who have cleared waivers include Buddy Groom, Jason Grimsley and B.J. Surhoff.

Groom, 39, is making $3 million this season, and if a team had claimed him, the Orioles could have stuck that team with his remaining salary. Groom has posted a 5.20 ERA, but he's still a name to watch with teams looking to bolster their left-handed relief options.

The Orioles would be more reluctant to part with Grimsley, 37, a right-handed reliever who still has another year remaining on his contract and came to the Orioles from the Kansas City Royals in a trade for 23-year-old prospect Denny Bautista.

Surhoff, 40, who is batting .330, could be an enticing left-handed bat for contending teams, but Orioles officials have said they won't trade him against his wishes.

Bigbie sits

Manager Lee Mazzilli kept left fielder Larry Bigbie out of the starting lineup last night, going with David Newhan in left field, Surhoff in right and Jay Gibbons as the designated hitter.

Karim Garcia, a fifth left-handed-hitting outfield option, was also on the bench.

Bigbie was batting .306 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in his past 10 games, but Mazzilli said for now, "I'm going to have to juggle to get people at-bats."

Big Phelps fan

Surhoff said he'll "be watching intently" as Michael Phelps begins his quest for eight gold medals at the Olympics.

Surhoff's wife, Polly, is a member of the Maryland Swimming Hall of Fame, and all four of their children have spent time around Phelps at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

So Surhoff is well-versed on all the events Phelps will swim, right down to the names of his top competitors, such as Ian Thorpe and Ian Crocker.

"I just hope he's able to do what he sets out to do," Surhoff said. "Even if he doesn't, he's still a success in my mind."

Cubillan suspended

Darwin Cubillan, who posted a 5.40 ERA in seven relief appearances with the Orioles this season, received a 15-game suspension for using a banned performance-enhancing substance at Triple-A Ottawa.

Orioles minor league director Doc Rodgers said the team isn't sure what substance Cubillan used. Another Orioles minor-leaguer, Single-A Frederick outfielder B.J. Littleton, received a similar suspension earlier this season.

"It's the player's duty to look into it and see what it was," Rodgers said.

Around the horn

Catcher Ken Huckaby cleared waivers and was outrighted to Ottawa. ... Kurt Ainsworth allowed one earned run in 3 2/3 innings for short season Single-A Aberdeen in his second rehabilitation start last night, against Staten Island. Ainsworth, who is recovering from right elbow surgery, gave up two hits and two walks, striking out four, with 60 pitches.

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