As Deadline Nears, Mora Aims To Remain

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Club Has Not Asked Him To Waive No-trade Clause

July 28, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora wants to play baseball for four more years; he's just not sure what's going to happen in the next four days.

In the final season of a guaranteed contract, Mora has not been asked by the club about potentially waiving his no-trade clause, meaning he almost certainly will remain with the Orioles after Friday's nonwaiver trade deadline passes.

But he's taking nothing for granted.

"In this business nobody knows," Mora said. "In this business, it's crazy."

So far, a trade market has not materialized for the 37-year-old third baseman who is batting .264 with three homers and 27 RBIs. His power numbers are down sharply from 2008, when he hit 23 homers and drove in 103 runs, but he has batted .291 in his first 31 at-bats since the All-Star break.

Mora said he would look at any potential trade on a case-by-case basis, but there was a reason he made sure the clause was included in his contract extension. He wants to stay here and rank second on the club's all-time list of games played by a third baseman behind Brooks Robinson (2,870). He's currently third with 758, which is 24 behind Doug DeCinces. If he stays in an Orioles uniform this season, he will likely achieve that goal.

"I want to be an Oriole forever, especially when you look at the numbers, and I'm behind Brooks Robinson playing third base," Mora said. "You kind of look at that as neat."

The club has a 2010 option worth $8 million (with a $1 million option) on Mora, but it is unlikely to be exercised.

"If they want to pick up my option, that would be good," he said. "If they don't take it, that would be good, too, because then I could choose where I want to go."

Regardless, Mora wants to play at least four more years, until his quintuplets, who turn 8 on Tuesday, are 12.

"After that, it will be a good time to think about spending more time in the house."

Strange reunion

Utility player Ryan Freel was back at Camden Yards on Monday, the stadium where he started the season, but this time he was on the visitors' side with the Kansas City Royals.

"I wasn't here long enough for it to be weird [to return]," said Freel, who is batting .231 in 13 games with the Royals. "I wasn't a big part of this team or had an impact on this team or was a fan favorite in Baltimore or got myself involved in the community. It wasn't anything like that."

Freel,33, had one of the strangest tenures in Orioles history. The club acquired him last winter from the Cincinnati Reds in the Ramon Hernandez trade, but then signed versatile Ty Wigginton and traded for outfielder Felix Pie, making Freel expendable.

He was playing in his ninth game with the Orioles when he was struck in the head by an errant pickoff throw from Boston's Justin Masterson on April 20. He was placed on the disabled list and never played for the Orioles again. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Joey Gathright on May 8 and was dealt from Chicago to the Royals on July 6 for a player to be named.

"It's been hard, just from a family standpoint. Packing up, moving. Packing up, moving. Not knowing if you are going to have a job," Freel said. "It's been an emotional roller coaster; it's been tough. But these guys over here are giving me a chance to play, and that's been great."

Reimold running

Nolan Reimold came to the big leagues with the reputation of being a slugger and not a base-running threat. Heading into Monday, however, he was 5-for-5 in stolen-base attempts, and had nabbed four in his past nine games.

"Once he steals a few more he won't be a secret," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "But I think it's just another part of his game that will allow him to be a complete major leaguer."

Around the horn

Pitcher Koji Uehara (elbow tendinitis) has increased his strengthening exercises, but has not begun throwing, Trembley said. There is no timetable for his return. ... The first 10,000 fans age 15 and over attending tonight's game will receive a Reimold T-shirt.

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