Orioles to bring in Swift, too


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Reeling from the strike that wiped out the postseason and the final six weeks of the regular season, most clubs are putting their free-agent searches on hold.

Most, not all.

In contrast, the Orioles have scheduled physicals for right-hander Bill Swift and outfielder Jay Buhner.

"We haven't finalized the plans, but we'll be bringing them in soon," Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said.

Swift, 33, a ground-ball pitcher, ranked first among pitchers with at least 600 innings in ERA from 1990 through 1993. He pitched a career-high 232 2/3 innings in 1993 when he posted a 2.82 ERA and gave up less than a home run every 15 innings for the seventh consecutive season. That was his only season in which he surpassed 200 innings.

Swift spent time on the disabled list last season with a strained rib-cage muscle.

Should the Orioles sign Swift to fill the No. 3 spot in the rotation, that doesn't necessarily mean left-hander Jamie Moyer would be on the trading block. Moyer could serve as a middle reliever and the first line of defense against injury in the rotation.

"You can never have enough pitching," Orioles manager Phil Regan said. "Never."

Buhner, 30, a power hitter with a strong arm, would fill the Orioles'need for an outfielder, a need created by the probable departure of Mike Devereaux and Jeffrey Hammonds' knee surgery.

Meanwhile, Regan spoke with free-agent second baseman Mark McLemore at an Arizona Fall League game.

"We've talked to a few teams, but the Orioles are definitely my first choice," McLemore said.

Representatives for free-agent closer Lee Smith also have spoken with other clubs, including the California Angels and Texas Rangers.

Free-agent designated hitter Harold Baines has talked with the New York Yankees.

The Orioles' talks with those free agents have not advanced to the serious stage.

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