O's Scott takes issue with MLB gun ban

He says rule punishes all for poor choices by some

February 27, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec | jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

SARASOTA, Fla. — - Orioles designated hitter Luke Scott understands the purpose behind Major League Baseball's recent directive prohibiting guns and other deadly weapons from clubhouses, and said he'll abide by it. He just doesn't agree with the ban.

"I don't think that everyone else should pay for the mistakes of a few," said Scott, one of baseball's most vocal gun rights proponents. "There is a good reason behind the rule, I can't deny that. The reason is you cannot trust 25 guys in a locker room to have the same respect and training as I do with a weapon. That I do understand. I've carried a gun for 10 years. I've carried them in the locker room, and nobody really knows about it. I know how to handle myself, and I stow it away where nobody really knows about it."

The ban was actually put in place in July, largely in response to the Plaxico Burress situation in which the former New York Giants wide receiver accidentally shot himself in a New York City nightclub in November 2008. However, MLB recently sent out reminders to players and the ban has also been posted in clubhouses for the first time.

That comes on the heels of a December incident in the NBA in which Washington Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton allegedly brandished guns in the locker room after a gambling-related dispute.

Scott said he wasn't aware of the MLB rule until very recently.

"We have good security," Scott said. "It's hard to get in here. Barring a tactical entry where terrorists come in and hold us hostage, that's about the only thing that could possibly warrant me carrying a gun in the clubhouse. That's highly unlikely, and I admit that. But my personal belief is I don't want to suffer from the poor choices of others."

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he agrees with the directive, calling it "entirely appropriate."

New agent for Matusz
Orioles starting pitcher Brian Matusz has switched agents, hiring CAA Sports as his representation. Matusz, 23, had been represented by Marc Agar, who negotiated the pitcher's contract with the Orioles after they drafted the left-hander with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft.

"I was with Marc since high school, and he's been nothing but great to me," Matusz said. "We had a great relationship. It was a tough decision. There are a lot of great agencies out there, but I'm excited to move forward with CAA. I'm also happy to have this behind me so I can focus on preparing for the season."

Matusz had five formal meetings with agents before choosing CAA, whose baseball division is headed by Casey Close and whose agency includes Brodie Van Wagenen and Nez Balelo.

Matusz is the third prominent Oriole to switch to CAA over the past two years, joining starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and center fielder Adam Jones. CAA represents more than 75 active major leaguers, including Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Ryan Braun and Ryan Zimmerman.

Roberts on mend
Long after many of his teammates had already headed into the clubhouse, second baseman Brian Roberts (herniated disk in back) stayed on the field to take ground balls and do some conditioning work. He then headed to the indoor batting cage to get some work in with hitting coach Terry Crowley.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he still isn't sure when Roberts will be ready to take batting practice, but the club is happy with the progress the two-time All-Star has made.

"He's doing a great job in all the drills, playing catch, running the bases," Trembley said. "We're going to take our time with the live hitting."

Around the horn
Right-hander Chris Tillman (back spasms) got through his first live batting practice session with no setbacks. He's scheduled to throw one inning in Monday's intrasquad game. Jim Johnson and Jake Arrieta are also scheduled to pitch in the game. Fourteen pitchers will be used to throw one inning each. The Orioles' regulars are scheduled to play three innings and get one at-bat.

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