NL West teams looking at Bonilla Padres, Giants talk with O's; Blowers injury may put Dodgers into hunt


BOSTON -- There is interest in Bobby Bonilla, and most of its seems to be coming from the National League West.

Last week, the Orioles and San Francisco Giants were talking about a multi-player deal. With those talks apparently stalled, the Orioles are discussing a possible swap with the San Diego Padres.

According to a league source, the Orioles and Padres have exchanged names. San Diego wants to add another big bopper like Bonilla, with right fielder Tony Gwynn possibly out for the rest of the year with an Achilles injury. The Orioles are interested in dealing for relatively young, major-league-ready players, and the Padres' strength is its pitching -- right-handers Bryce Florie, Doug Bochtler and Tim Worrell, all in the majors now. The Orioles also may have an interest in outfielder Marc Newfield, a hard-hitting 23-year-old outfielder who is, for now, being asked to fill in for Gwynn.

San Diego is under some pressure to make a deal before the July 31 trade deadline, having invested some serious money in veterans such as Rickey Henderson, Bob Tewksbury and Wally Joyner. The Padres are trying to get a new stadium, and they're having one of their best seasons since 1984, the last year they qualified for the postseason.

Orioles sources say that the four-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees last weekend changed the thinking of club executives. They're not necessarily interested in dumping veterans for minor-league prospects and giving up on this season. But rather than deal veterans for veterans -- the type of trade they were considering a week ago, for the likes of San Francisco's Kirt Manwaring, Stan Javier and Mark Leiter -- they'd like to deal veterans for young major-leaguers who might help them win this year and would augment the team for next year.

The Dodgers also may talk to the Orioles about Bonilla, having lost third baseman Mike Blowers for the rest of the season to a knee injury.

Pitching changes

Desperate for bullpen help, the Orioles called up right-hander Keith Shepherd from Triple-A Rochester, demoted left-hander Rick Krivda and restored right-hander Jimmy Haynes back to the rotation.

Haynes began the year in the rotation amid high expectations, but was dropped from the rotation in early June. He has improved dramatically since moving to the bullpen: He is 2-0 with a save and a 3.18 ERA in relief.

Haynes will make his next start Monday, against the Minnesota Twins. "Jimmy Haynes needs to be starting," said Orioles manager Davey Johnson.

Krivda has been inconsistent as a starter, throwing three or four good innings in a row and then getting bombed. But he was a victim of circumstances, as much as anything. Kent Mercker has been much worse than Krivda, giving up seven runs in three-plus innings in his most recent appearance Wednesday.

However, Mercker is making $2.825 million and with more than five years of service time, he cannot be sent to the minors without his permission. Johnson basically had no choice, short of dumping Mercker.

Krivda is to start for Rochester today, and if Arthur Rhodes' sore left shoulder doesn't improve in the next couple of days, Johnson said, Krivda could be recalled.

The Orioles put Shepherd to quick use, bringing him on the seventh. He allowed two hits in two-thirds of an inning, but no runs, including a strikeout of Jose Canseco.

Power lunch

Hours before switching to third base, Cal Ripken and Orioles owner Peter Angelos had lunch, where they talked about the change and other aspects of the club. Yesterday, Angelos confirmed the meeting.

"It was an excellent meeting," Angelos said. "We talked baseball, we talked about the move [to third]. There was no acrimony or bad feelings about that. He and I enjoy a good relationship, and we'll continue to do so."


Infield chatter

Manny Alexander, who took over shortstop from Ripken, said he thought the four-game series in Boston -- and away from Camden Yards, where he was getting booed -- will probably help him relax. "It will be really nice for me," Alexander said. "I can start to play like I can play."

Alexander has been getting some help from first baseman Rafael Palmeiro. During pitching changes Wednesday, Alexander would go across the infield and talk to Palmeiro. "He's saying . . . 'Manny, don't try to do too much. Just be yourself,' " Alexander said. "Take it easy."

Alexander says he is staying clear of Ripken, to whom he says he has not spoken since the change Monday.

"I don't want to ask him anything," Alexander said. "I know Cal's a nice guy and a nice person. I know he wouldn't say anything bad to me and he would help me. But I don't want to ask him for anything, because I'm a little afraid . . . I know he loves to play shortstop."

Hits and misses

On the field: There are still about 2 1/2 months left in this season, and another member of the Orioles already has established a career high for homers. B. J. Surhoff hit an opposite-field shot into the screen above Fenway's Green Monster last night, his 14th of the season. Until hitting 13 last season, he had never hit more than seven in eight major-league seasons.

In the dugout: Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar continues to sit out because of a sprained finger. He's been out of the starting lineup the last five games, and apparently isn't close to coming back. Orioles manager Davey Johnson says he won't play Alomar until he's sure the condition of his finger won't get any worse.

In the clubhouse: Orioles general manager Pat Gillick said earlier this year that he has no plans to trade shortstop Manny Alexander. What about now? "I haven't changed my mind," said Gillick.

Pub Date: 7/19/96

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