ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Major League Baseball Players Association director Donald Fehr visited the Orioles at the Huggins-Stengel Complex yesterday to brief them on the coming collective bargaining talks with ownership, but not much has changed since negotiations formally began on March 7.
Fehr and ownership negotiator Richard Ravitch indicated after their first meeting in Tampa, Fla., that staff members from both sides would be getting together soon to work on the transfer of financial information. That was 11 days ago, and nothing has happened.
"I assumed that we would hear from them very quickly on the financial stuff," Fehr said, "but a couple days later I got a letter from Dick arguably backtracking on their agreement to provide it."
The owners are hoping to persuade the players to accept a salary cap that would be linked to the revenue-sharing agreement the owners reached unilaterally in January. Ravitch tried to make a case for that in front of a group of about 70 players at the Tampa meeting, but left them wondering when there would be a specific proposal.
"It's a little odd to say you want major changes and then not be willing to say what you want to do," Fehr said. "They came to the conclusion that we've got to have a salary cap and revenue sharing, then they want to have a big meeting but they don't want to tell us anything.
"Suppose we came in and said, 'We want vastly improved working conditions,' and then when they asked what we wanted, we said, 'We don't know, make a proposal.' That's not likely to make negotiations progress."
Ravitch is scheduled to meet with Fehr and another group of players on March 30 in Phoenix.
McGehee ailing, too
Sid Fernandez is the most celebrated, but not the only ailing pitcher in the Orioles' camp. Rookie right-hander Kevin McGehee, who last pitched a week ago, has been nursing a case of elbow tendinitis.
Pitching coach Dick Bosman revealed the injury before last night's exhibition game with the Philadelphia Phillies, after being asked when McGehee would pitch again. "He's just about recovered and ready to resume his workouts," said Bosman. "He had a slight touch of tendinitis in the elbow area."
McGehee, who figures to return to Triple-A Rochester, has given up six hits and four earned runs in four innings and was the losing pitcher in a 9-7 loss to the New York Yankees last week.
Phillies get a scare
Already without first baseman John Kruk for at least the first month of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies got another scare in last night's exhibition game against the Orioles. Ricky Jordan, Kruk's replacement, was hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Ben McDonald in the first inning and was forced to leave the game.
However, X-rays revealed no fracture and Jordan is expected to return to the lineup in a few days.
Rhodes squares up
Arthur Rhodes, whose spot in the Orioles' rotation is more assured with the injury to Fernandez, has made a slight adjustment in his delivery.
In the past, the 23-year-old left-hander began his delivery with his body sideways, almost facing first base. Now he has a much more traditional look, squaring up to face the hitter before going into his delivery.
"As long as he gets his front [right] leg to the proper point, I don't care how he does it," said Bosman. "But he seems to be getting more comfortable with this delivery."
Oquist, Mills start today
Oquist will face the Twins at St. Petersburg, while Mills makes his fourth straight start against the Indians at Winter Haven. The continued starting assignments for Mills have taken on added significance with Fernandez sidelined and likely to start the season on the disabled list.
Rhodes will make his third start and fourth appearance of the spring tomorrow, facing the Twins.
Opponent: Minnesota Twins
Site: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Time: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)