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Players' reaction: Trade means O's mean business


Orioles players were enthusiastic about the acquisition of power hitter Bobby Bonilla -- and the timing of it.

"I'm not just glad that we did something, I'm glad that we have him now," said Rafael Palmeiro. "I think it was a good trade. He brings great offense to this team, and that's what we need. He's going to add offense to this lineup no matter where he is. Wherever he hits, he is an intimidating factor in the lineup."

Bonilla, 32, was traded for minor-league outfielders Alex Ochoa and Damon Buford. He was batting .325 for the New York Mets.

Orioles infielder Jeff Manto thinks the trade sends a message to the Orioles' AL East rivals.

"It says [to other teams], 'Look out,' " Manto said. "Bonilla is going to help us tremendously. He's going to bring a lot of fun to a ballclub. Don't preconceive him till you know him."

Pitcher Mike Mussina said the move was necessary to stay in contention.

"Teams in our division were making moves," Mussina said. "We needed a stick and we went out and got one."

The former five-time National League All-Star should bring instant offense. The switch-hitter has 18 home runs, 53 RBIs and has scored 49 runs. He has also compiled a .599 slugging average and .385 on-base percentage.

Manager Phil Regan said Bonilla will play right field.

"It's going to be a great lineup," Regan said. "[Getting a power hitter] is going to help our lineup. No. 1, he's a switch-hitter, and it's doubly tough for a manager to pitch around us."

Don't believe all the discussion about Bonilla's attitude problem, said Manto.

"Well, obviously [the trade] is going to help," Manto said. "It's going to be a great addition. He is going to love this ballpark. He's going to tear up this American League for us, I know that.

"It's going to be nice to have a guy like him around here. I know he's gotten a lot of bad PR from New York, but I played a little bit with him in spring training last year and he's one quality guy. He's one of the guys every player likes."

Orioles outfielder Kevin Bass knows about adjusting to the American League, having played in the NL from 1983 to 1994.

"He's the kind of guy who's going to beef up any lineup he's in," Bass said. "It's all the same [AL and NL]. The pitchers are the same over here. He's a good hitter. He'll be all right over here."

Said third baseman Leo Gomez, "It's a pretty good move for the Orioles. We have another power hitter in the lineup."

Catcher Greg Zaun has high hopes for Bonilla.

"It's a big lift offensively for this club," Zaun said. "He can be in the lineup every day, and you can expect some big things from this guy. Big things."

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