Contract impasse disappoints Gillick 'Deadline' day comes, goes; Incaviglia placed on DL


General manager Pat Gillick said it's "disappointing" that the club hasn't reached contract agreements with Mike Mussina, Cal Ripken and outfielder Brady Anderson by today's deadline. Gillick has said he won't negotiate past Opening Day.

"I'll stop talking," he said. "Now, Mr. [Peter] Angelos might not. It's his ballclub. He's in charge. If he wants to talk during the season, that's certainly his prerogative.

"I just don't like to negotiate during the season. I wanted to get the thing done by [yesterday]. Every day is kind of like a Brady, Cal, Mike watch or countdown."

Gillick said the club hasn't talked to Anderson's people in the last "two or three days." Negotiations with Ripken and Mussina have stalled, though the gap between the club's offer and the player proposal in each case is not considered particularly wide.

"I think all three guys like it here and would like to stay in Baltimore," he added. "That's one of the very positive things. I'm not using that as an advantage, but it's not like they want to get out of here."

Gillick didn't see Mussina's calcium deposits in his elbow altering the contract situation, saying "it's not abnormal" for pitchers to have such a condition.

Incaviglia put on DL

As expected, the Orioles placed outfielder Pete Incaviglia on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. The move is retroactive to March 22, so Incaviglia is scheduled to return April 7 in Kansas City.

"It's my history with players that if you bring them back out too early on a hamstring and they go down again, they're out for 30 days and I can't afford to lose Inky for 30 days," said manager Davey Johnson.

Incaviglia, who will serve mostly as the Orioles' designated hitter, batted .267 this spring with four home runs and 11 RBIs.

In other roster moves, the Orioles have purchased the contracts of pitcher Scott Kamieniecki, infielder Jeff Reboulet, outfielder Jerome Walton and catcher Lenny Webster. Kamieniecki will pitch Thursday and Reboulet will start at second base during Roberto Alomar's five-game suspension.

The Orioles also announced that catcher Tim Laker cleared waivers and has been assigned to Triple-A Rochester.

Gruber to join Rochester

Infielder Kelly Gruber will continue his comeback at Rochester.

Gruber, who hasn't played in the majors since 1993 because of a herniated disk in his neck, accepted a minor-league assignment. He'll join the Red Wings on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.

The club wants Gruber, 35, to get at least another 100 at-bats before making a decision on whether to bring him back. "They feel like I have a career, that there's a lot of baseball left in me. And I'm feeling the same," he said.

"I'm looking forward to going down and getting some playing time, getting more in-depth with my game, looking for pitches, looking for off-speed things, getting back into the game scenarios."

Gruber said he didn't have any expectations at the start of spring training about making the majors.

"I came here to put a uniform on. Anything after that was icing on the cake," he said. "The longer I could stay, the better. It was just a matter of figuring out, 'Hey, am I going to be able to play? Am I going to have a career? Do I need to hang them up?' That's what I was looking at.

"I didn't rule out anything. I could very easily be home right now. I'm just very fortunate to have an opportunity with this organization. It's a fantastic organization. The facilities, the players, the front office, the fans, the whole ball of wax is just tremendous."

Gruber, a former All-Star with Toronto, began the spring 0-for-16 and was sidelined with a hamstring pull. But he batted .378 (14-for-37) after being hitless.

"We really like the progress he made," Johnson said. "We feel he's going to be a big part of this ballclub. He needs to get some more at-bats, more playing time at short, second and the outfield, and then he'll be ready to come up. If you look at what he's done the last three weeks of spring training, you can say he's all the way back."

Shapiro to deliver lecture

Baseball agent Ron Shapiro will deliver the annual Hughie Jennings memorial lecture at the University of Maryland School of Law today at 12: 15 p.m.

The lecture, named for the Hall of Fame Oriole who played in the late 1800s and early 1900s, is free and will be held at Westminster Hall near Fayette and Greene streets.

The Baltimore-based Shapiro represents a number of prominent players and broadcasters, including Ripken, Kirby Puckett, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson and Chuck Thompson.

Pub Date: 4/01/97

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