O's form a line at bonus window Many players on pace for incentives in contracts

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — ARLINGTON, Texas -- As the All-Star break approaches, several Orioles are close to achieving incentives written into their contracts, and others are far off.

The sure things:


Cal Ripken will receive $75,000 for being voted to the All-Star team; Roberto Alomar, $50,000.

Jesse Orosco will get $50,000 for his 30th appearance, and another $50,000 when he achieves 35, 40, 45 and 50 and so on. Orosco already has 25 appearances.


Likely achievements:

Brady Anderson will get $50,000 for being elected to the All-Star team, $30,000 for being selected by Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove.

Roger McDowell will get $25,000 when he makes his 50th appearance. He leads the Orioles with 30 appearances.

B. J. Surhoff will get $75,000 for reaching 400 plate appearances, and less than halfway into the season, he already has 251.

Mike Devereaux will get $50,000 for playing in 90 games or accumulating 270 plate appearances. Devereaux already has played in 53 games.

David Wells will get $100,000 for making 25 starts. He has 14 so far.

Alan Mills will get $20,000 when he makes his 25th appearance. Thus far, he has 11.

Possible achievements:


Scott Erickson will get $50,000 for pitching 200 innings. He has 89 2/3 innings, and is on a pace to throw 205 innings.

Mike Mussina will get $25,000 for making the All-Star team.

Highly unlikely:

Kent Mercker's $3.3 million option kicks in automatically if he pitches 180 innings this year. So far, he has 53 1/3 , and has been dropped from the rotation.

Polonia counsels Alexander

Luis Polonia has been counseling Manny Alexander, telling him, in so many words, to wait and keep his mouth shut.


"Manny's young," said Polonia, who, like Alexander, is from the Dominican Republic. "He has to understand his situation. He's young and he's going to play for a lot of years. . . . I told him, 'Don't make them mad. When you get a chance to play, use it. Don't waste the chance.' "

When Alexander has gotten a chance for one at-bat here and there, Polonia said, he has approached it with a sense of resignation, flailing with disgust. "You can't do that," Polonia said. "When people look at your numbers, they look down and see that you hit .190. They don't know all [the circumstances]. They just see that you hit .190."

Hammonds' week to forget

Jeffrey Hammonds, demoted to the minors last week, was hitless in his first 14 at-bats for Triple-A Rochester. But he doubled in the ninth inning of Sunday night's game against Norfolk, and then in the bottom of the 11th, he singled in the winning run.

"This isn't a week I want to recollect," said Hammonds. "I want to look ahead and get my act together. I'm 25 years old, and I do what I'm told. They didn't tell me how long I'd be here, and I didn't ask."

Zaun gets a scare


Catcher Gregg Zaun, hit hard in a collision at home Sunday, said his left knee felt OK last night, but said that he thought he had suffered some major damage.

Zaun looked down at his knee and saw that the shin guard had been knocked to the other side of his leg, and the optical illusion "freaked me out a little bit."

"It's a good thing I had my foot positioned the way it was supposed to -- pointing at third, and not at the third base dugout," he said. "The runner [Kansas City's Michael Tucker] could've done some serious damage."

McDowell, Mercker better

The soreness that bothered McDowell in early June is gone. "In fact, I feel great," said McDowell, whose soreness has dissipated as the Orioles' bullpen has stabilized, reducing his workload. "What probably helped more than anything has been the rest, not having to throw four innings."

McDowell gave up two hits in 1 1/3 innings last night.


Mercker is biding his time in the bullpen, attempting to improve his arm strength. "We'll use him out there when we get the chance," said pitching coach Pat Dobson. "He's doing exercises [on his shoulder]. It's one of those things where you build it up, and then when you pitch, you tear it down. It's building up in small increments. That's all we can do."

Around the horn

Before the game, Ripken met with Gerardo Sanchez, who holds the Mexican Summer Professional League record with 1,223 consecutive games played. . . . Dobson has been impressed with the work ethic of rookie right-hander Rocky Coppinger. "He's gotten an opportunity," Dobson said, "and he's taking advantage of it." Coppinger, a Texas native, pitches tomorrow night, and he's already nervous. "I'm anxious to get out there," Coppinger said. "This is by far my biggest test." . . . Anderson's third-inning triple was the 43rd of his career, moving him past Ripken and into fourth place on the Orioles' career list. . . . The Yankees are scouting veteran right-hander Jack Morris, who yesterday was named Pitcher of the Week in the independent Northern League, where he plays for the St. Paul Saints. The Orioles have no interest, several club officials indicated.

Pub Date: 6/25/96