DETROIT -- Orioles general manager Roland Hemond called Brad Pennington on Thursday and told him to pack his bags, a trade was in the works and could be completed within 24 hours.
Pennington begged Hemond to tell him where he was headed, but Hemond wouldn't say. "Just wait," Hemond said. "You'll be happy."
The GM wasn't kidding. Pennington was ecstatic yesterday when he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Single-A minor-leaguers Danny Clyburn, an outfielder, and Tony Nieto, a pitcher. The Reds were the team that Pennington followed growing up in Salem, Ind.
The week before, when the Reds were among the first teams to ask about Pennington, he had said he wanted to go to Cincinnati: "If that happens, that would be sweet."
Pennington opened the season with the Orioles, but was rarely used. When he did pitch, he struggled, walking 11 in 6 2/3 innings. On June 4, he met with Hemond and said he wanted to pitch more. Two days after that, Orioles manager Phil Regan confronted Pennington about going to Hemond rather than him. Two days after that, Pennington was designated for assignment, and before leaving, he swapped verbal jabs with Regan. The Orioles had until tomorrow to trade him.
Clyburn, 21, is a right-handed, power-hitting outfielder who was taken in the second round of the '92 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh traded him to Cincinnati last October for outfielder Jacob Brumfield. Playing for Winston-Salem this year, Clyburn had 11 homers and 41 RBIs in 59 games, hitting .260. His future may be as a left fielder or designated hitter.
Nieto, a right-handed pitcher, was drafted in the 29th round of the 1994 draft, and was 3-4 with a 3.34 ERA for Charleston.
Neither player is on the Orioles' 40-man roster. Pennington is out of options, and if he has problems, the Reds must pass him through waivers or trade him, as the Orioles had to do.