Alomar is open to Orioles future ALL-STAR NOTEBOOK

THE BALTIMORE SUN

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Second baseman Roberto Alomar says the Toronto Blue Jays have shown no inclination to sign him, and reiterated he could talk with the Orioles if he tests the market this fall.

"I would like to play with [Cal] Ripken," he said. "It would be fun to play with him. You never know -- you never know where you're going to go. I think they have a great ballclub there. I'm just going to sit and wait to see what happens."

Alomar says this is a very different year for the Blue Jays. John Olerud and Paul Molitor haven't hit well, the club has been beset by injuries. "It's been a disappointing year," he said.

Plus, all those trade rumors. The rumors here have Joe Carter going to San Diego, David Cone going to Cleveland and about six other teams, Alomar to the Padres -- or the Orioles.

Speedup made official

Major League Baseball officially announced the changes designed to speed up the games, which will be implemented July 28:

* Except for national TV games, the interval between the third out and the start of the next half-inning will be cut to two minutes and five seconds.

* Batters will be permitted by the plate umpire to leave the box in between pitches, but will have to remain within three feet of the lateral side of the box. The opposing pitcher must deliver the ball within 12 seconds of when the batter steps in the box, provided there is no runner on base.

* Managers and coaches wanting to make pitching changes must signal as they step out of the dugout.

Ranger faces scalping charges

A sting operation to catch those scalping tickets for the All-Star Game landed Texas Rangers reliever Ed Vosberg.

The left-hander, arrested Monday afternoon outside The Ballpark Arlington, faces a $500 fine for allegedly trying to sell complimentary tickets he had received.

Phillies pair reports for work

The two Philadelphia Phillies who were missing from Monday's workout were in uniform last night. Catcher Darren Daulton made no secret of the fact he simply decided to skip the workout. "I was tired," Daulton said.

But center fielder Lenny Dykstra said he was visiting his ailing mother, Marilyn Dykstra. "She told me yesterday she had to get chemotherapy [for a liver disorder]," Dykstra said. "It was a tough day yesterday. Anyone who thinks I didn't want to be here [Phillies owner Bill Giles criticized the missing pair Monday]. . . . I wanted to be here, more than anybody knows. But when something like this happens, it can be tough on the family."

Fernandez's fall stuns McGriff

Atlanta first baseman Fred McGriff was shocked to hear the Orioles released Sid Fernandez.

"I can't believe he was getting hit," McGriff said. "Over here, with the Mets, he dominated. To read that he was getting hit pretty good over there is pretty [surprising]. Maybe the ballpark [Camden Yards] had something to do with it.

"That's like Bill Swift going to Colorado and having trouble and everybody wondering what's wrong with Bill Swift. There ain't nothing wrong with Bill Swift. If you throw the ball over the plate there, they're going to hit the ball a long way."

Fernandez likely will sign with the Phillies or Reds once he clears waivers tomorrow.

Frequent fliers

Some of the players griped about the unusual scheduling this week. Atlanta, for instance, played a night game against San Francisco Sunday night, and then must play a day game in Pittsburgh today and then fly to San Diego to start a four-game series tomorrow night.

"I've got to go talk to Katy Feeney," said McGriff, referring to the NL vice president who helps with scheduling. "I've got to go talk to her and say, 'What's the deal?' "

Toddler testing Griffey

It's been more than a month now since Ken Griffey broke his left wrist, as he ran into a wall robbing the Orioles' Kevin Bass of a hit May 26. He may not be back until the end of August, and until then, he says he'll spend much of his time with his 17-month-old son, Trey.

"He's just at an age where he's saying, 'I can hit you and kick you and bite you and you can't do nothing to me yet.' I'm learning a lot about fatherhood, patience -- which could help me at the plate."

Griffey says he's seen videotape of his devastating catch. What did he think when he saw the replay?

"Great catch," Griffey said.

Bowing to the best

Cubs reliever Randy Myers said one of the things he likes

about coming to the All-Star Game is seeing Lee Smith. "He's the best at our position," Myers said. "I personally think that reaching the 300-save mark is good for making the Hall of Fame. And Lee has 450 or whatever, and that's the standard."

Neagle takes game in stride

Denny Neagle, an Arundel High grad and practical jokester of note, said it's important to have fun so the game doesn't seem like a chore.

"I take that from Johnny Oates," Neagle said. "I read that in the Baltimore press, about when he was a player, he very rarely enjoyed the game because he was always wondering if someone from the minors is going to take his job. So when he got his second chance, to manage, he said no matter what happens, if I get fired or whatever, I'm going to have fun doing this. This is my second chance, and I'm going to do it right the second time around."

Around the horn

Some of the players went on the amusement park rides at Monday night's All-Star Gala. Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza and the Mets' Bobby Bonilla went on a roller-coaster ride called Free Fall. "Three times," Piazza said, "and I was feeling sick." . . . Cincinnati outfielder Ron Gant said that if he got a dollar for every time he's been asked about the motorcycle accident that broke his leg, "I could've bought two motorcycles." . . . Gant and Ripken chatted briefly about Gant signing with the Reds instead the Orioles last year. "Next year," Gant said to Ripken, according to two writers standing nearby.

ALL-STAR HIGHS AND LOWS

BIGGEST CHEERS

FROM THE FANS

1. Nolan Ryan: If Texas were its own country, he would be president.

2. Ivan Rodriguez: Big yell when the Rangers catcher cut down Lenny Dykstra trying to steal in the first inning.

bTC 3. Cal Ripken: When he was introduced before the game, many in the crowd stood and clapped. This is his year, after all.

THOSE WHO FULFILLED EXPECTATIONS

1. Hideo Nomo: The fanfare had no effect on him whatsoever.

2. Randy Johnson: He didn't strike out four of the first five hitters, as predicted. He struck out three of the first six.

3. Ripken: Line-drive out in his first at-bat, singles in his second and third at-bats

THOSE WHO DIDN'T FULFILL EXPECTATIONS

1. Steve Ontiveros: First batter he faced in the All-Star Game was Jeff Conine. Ouch. Losing pitcher.

2. John Smiley: There was general outcry when he wasn't picked for the All-Star team, but then he was added to replace Greg Maddux -- and gave up the two-run homer to Frank Thomas.

3. Barry Bonds: Booed, struck out, grounded out to the pitcher and flied out to right. Tough day.

BIGGEST SURPRISES

1. Conine: Now let get this straight -- he plays for which team?

2. Felipe Alou: The NL manager allowed heartburn reliever Randy Myers to pitch the ninth inning.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYS

1. Smiley: At the end of the fifth inning, Kenny Lofton's shattered bat flew at him, but Smiley didn't let this bother him, fielded the grounder and threw to first.

2. Barry Larkin: He backhanded a ball in the hole in the fifth, taking a hit away from Rodriguez, and threw to second for a force play.

3. Tony Gwynn: He hustled in to take away a hit from Ripken in the second inning, catching a liner just off his shoe tops.

MISCELLANEOUS

First indication the managers were really trying to win: Alou brought the infield in with a runner at third and one out in the sixth inning.

Why you knew this is the year of the strike: Because so many teams have games today, many of the players finished their participation and left the park immediately to catch flights out of Texas. Thomas, for instance, departed shortly after hitting his two-run homer.

Worst thing about the game: The heat, which often climbed over 100 degrees during the day. "There's no way they could play day games here," said Atlanta first baseman Fred McGriff.

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