Alomar fined big for miss of exhibition Second baseman could appeal $10,500 penalty for Rochester game

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Determined not to allow an unsettling precedent, the Orioles have assessed second baseman Roberto Alomar a $10,500 fine for missing a July 10 exhibition without permission.

The unusually stiff fine was levied by manager Davey Johnson with the authorization of general manager Pat Gillick, both of whom have treated the delicate issue with extreme caution. The Orioles did not announce the action.

Johnson was first approached about the matter when the team opened the second half at home and declined to comment. He similarly waved off a question before last night's game against the Texas Rangers.

"I'm not talking about it. You don't have to know everything that goes on in that clubhouse," Johnson said.

However, Gillick appeared to confirm that Johnson authorized the amount of the fine. "I can't really comment," Gillick said. "That's a situation between the manager and the player."

Pressed on whether the fine was a joint decision, Gillick said, "It's Davey's prerogative."

Alomar has yet to pay the fine, suggesting that it may be grieved by the Major League Baseball Players Association. He declined to comment last night.

The Orioles met at Camden Yards two days after the All-Star Game to fly to Rochester for a game against the club's Triple-A affiliate at Frontier Field. Approached by several players about a waiver, Johnson gave permission only to pitchers Jimmy Key and Mike Mussina to miss the game.

Key was on his honeymoon. Mussina was bothered by a viral illness that had prevented him from pitching in the All-Star Game.

Alomar's grandmother had died in Puerto Rico several days before the All-Star Game and he, along with brother and Cleveland Indians catcher Sandy Alomar Jr., contemplated withdrawing from the event in Cleveland. Urged by their mother to play on, both players appeared with black ribbons on the left chest of their jerseys.

Alomar returned home after the game and tried to arrange a day trip to Puerto Rico. He abandoned the attempt when he learned that he would not be able to return in time for the July 11 game against Milwaukee.

Johnson was aware of Alomar's family situation but was never asked for permission to miss the exhibition, a team source said.

"It seems to be a matter of miscommunication," said a club official.

At issue for Johnson and Gillick is maintaining clubhouse order. Such a stiff fine would be levied to discourage players from simply paying a nominal amount for a day off. The amount levied is about one-third of Alomar's daily salary.

Pub Date: 7/23/97

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