The Orioles intend to deal outfielder Bobby Bonilla before they begin their road trip on Tuesday, according to two league sources, and have told the Seattle Mariners to wait a bit before beginning talks for David Wells.
According to a National League source, the New York Mets have some interest in reacquiring Bonilla and sent a scout to watch him play in last night's game.
Bonilla was acquired a year ago tomorrow by the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Alex Ochoa and Damon Buford.
Wednesday night is the major-league trading deadline.
The Orioles have talked extensively with the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants about Bonilla. But the Giants are slipping out of the race, which could leave San Diego as the most prominent bidder for Bonilla.
The Orioles have asked the Padres' for a top minor-league prospect, like Juan Melo, according to a club source, as well as a major-league pitcher. However, the Orioles may have to settle for a pitcher like Tim Worrell or Bryce Florie and a secondary prospect.
Seattle is looking for pitching help and Wells is their first choice. But the Mariners have been told by an Orioles official to wait until later this weekend to resume talks. The Orioles likely will ask for catcher Chris Widger and shortstop Desmond Relaford in return.
Orioles farm director Syd Thrift was in Seattle last night and spoke at length with Mariners manager Lou Piniella and the club's minor-league officials.
Reviewing Belle's late slide
Umpire Al Clark called Albert Belle's late slide into second base in the seventh inning of Thursday night's game a clean play.
Explaining his reasoning for not warning Belle for the hard slide, Clark said, "There was no reason for me to warn him. It was a clean slide. There's nothing in the rule book saying you can't slide late. It's just baseball."
Belle, who ran down Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Fernando Vina in a game earlier this season, delayed his slide into second while Roberto Alomar was pivoting to complete a double play throw to first base.
Manager Davey Johnson, who argued with Clark after the play, said yesterday after talking to others he believes it was a clean play.
Disabled relievers Arthur Rhodes and Roger McDowell made strides toward returning.
Rhodes, out with soreness in the top of his left shoulder, threw for 10 minutes off a mound at about 60 percent. Rhodes is scheduled to throw again tomorrow and if he is still without pain he could be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, said pitching coach Pat Dobson.
McDowell, who has soreness in the back of his shoulder, played long-toss yesterday and Dobson said the right-hander will try to throw again today.
Murray on Indians
Eddie Murray, recently traded from the Indians, held a small news conference to address the Cleveland media. Murray spoke about the emotional scene that played out as his playing time dwindled in Cleveland and rumors of a possible trade grew stronger.
"I really didn't think [the trade] was going to happen," Murray said. "It was tough. All of the guys got ticked about what was going on. They would say, 'Are you hurt? What's wrong?'
"I knew they were really close to the situation and they wanted to know what was going on."
Around the horn
The Indians placed pitcher Jack McDowell on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 22 and replaced him on the 25-man roster with infielder Casey Candaele from Triple-A Buffalo. McDowell last pitched on July 21, when he beat Minnesota, 7-5. He strained his right forearm after the start and returned to Cleveland for tests Friday. . . . Before today's 1: 05 p.m. game, the Orioles will honor former manager Earl Weaver with a ceremony commemorating his induction into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 4. Festivities are expected to begin at 12: 15 p.m. . . . With his three RBIs last night, Cal Ripken tied Hall of Famer Johnny Mize for 55th on the all-time list with 1,337.
Hits and misses
On the field: Albert Belle is going to get the headlines, but
Brian Giles, recently called up from Triple-A, has hurt the Orioles in a big way in the first two games of this series. He had three doubles Thursday night and hit a two-run homer in the first inning last night.
In the dugout: As the Orioles make one last run before the July 31 trade deadline, manager Davey Johnson has gone almost exclusively with Chris Hoiles as his catcher. Hoiles started his sixth straight game last night.
In the clubhouse: "I'm sure it didn't hurt Belle. It didn't look like he flinched. That's probably what we should've done to him the other three times he was up -- drill him in the ribs." -- Johnson, joking about the Orioles' inability to retire Belle.
Pub Date: 7/27/96