When they left Baltimore on Sunday, Jeff Ballard, Paul Kilgus and Jeff Robinson knew they were going to Seattle and then on to Chicago before returning home. They just didn't expect to hit all three cities in the same night.
But that is exactly what happened yesterday. After being informed by manager John Oates that they were being dropped from the Orioles' 25-man roster, the three pitchers returned to Baltimore last night from Seattle, via Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
Ballard and Robinson were optioned to Triple A Rochester. Kilgus, who has no minor-league options remaining, was designated for assignment and placed on waivers.
Upon returning to Baltimore, Robinson raised some questions about his health and whether he will report to Rochester, saying he received several cortisone shots this week, and has been pitching in pain for three weeks.
"I'll be there when I get there. I'm not pitching again until I'm healthy," said Robinson, who Monday speculated that the Orioles moved him to the bullpen to avoid paying him a $25,000 incentive bonus he would have received for making his 20th start. "That may be a month, that may be two months, or it may be in February."
Both Ballard and Robinson were outspoken concerning their "unwarranted" demotion.
"We just happened to be the guys they picked because they wanted to see somebody else," said Ballard, a five-year Orioles veteran. "But, it's pretty brutal. It's ridiculous, actually. They can't justify any reason for why they're doing this," Ballard said. "I feel like I'm being made one of the scapegoats, for the last two yearsactually. I don't think that's just.
"If I could get out of here and go play for another team right now, I'd do it, because obviously the Orioles aren't interested in having me play for them anymore. And from what I can tell, they're not interested for the future. I would just assume go play for someone else where I'm wanted a little bit more."
Robinson also expressed a strong desire to be traded, but according to assistant general manager Frank Robinson, all three players have been on the trading block, with teams showing "no interest."
Kilgus refused to comment on his situation, saying only, "it's a done deal."