BOSTON -- If the Orioles wanted Hideo Nomo, they apparently would have had to take him as is with no chance of returning him as damaged goods.
As far as the Orioles were concerned, the translation was sayonara.
Two days after considering themselves leading candidates to acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander, the Orioles excused themselves from bidding due to the Dodgers' refusal to allow any club to examine him before completing a deal. At the same time, the Dodgers notified all interested parties that once a deal is made final, Nomo couldn't be returned if physically unsound.
That didn't prevent the New York Mets from taking a chance on Nomo, though. The Mets announced late last night that they had obtained Nomo and reliever Brad Clontz for starter Dave Mlicki and reliever Greg McMichael.
Nomo, 29, the NL Rookie of the Year in 1995, was 2-7 with a 5.05 ERA before the Dodgers cut him loose. He had lost his last four decisions, allowing 18 earned runs in 26 2/3 innings.
Nomo will be reunited in New York with former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza and pitcher Masato Yoshii, a teammate with the Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan before Nomo joined the Dodgers in 1995.
The Orioles had been intrigued enough to discuss a deal involving Armando Benitez or Alan Mills.
Dodgers general manager Fred Claire had expressed misgivings about any deal involving Benitez.
Scouting reports indicated a recent drop in velocity for Nomo, giving manager Ray Miller pause.
"I saw him pitch the other day and he was throwing 86. When I was [in the National League], he was throwing 93 or 94," said Miller, contrasting Nomo's velocity to two years ago when Miller served as Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach.
The Orioles will continue to explore other trade avenues, including discussions with the San Diego Padres for starting pitcher Joey Hamilton.
Miller thought Jeffrey Hammonds was ready to return to the starting lineup but learned otherwise two hours before last night's game.
Hammonds continues to be bothered by soreness in his upper back and has missed four straight starts after starting 14 of 15 games. Miller scratched Hammonds from right field and replaced him with Joe Carter, who batted No. 2 for the first time this season. Miller cited Carter's career success against Red Sox starter Bret Saberhagen (20-for-57, three home runs) for starting him over Eric Davis (3-for-17 vs. Saberhagen).
Carter had one single in three trips against Saberhagen.
Mike Bordick missed a second consecutive start because of a sprained left ankle. He will likely return tonight.
Iron Man (cont.)
Exhaustive research by STATS Inc. and the Orioles reveals that entering last night Cal Ripken's consecutive-games streak of 2,536 is longer than the combined consecutive games played by the next 27 players with active streaks. The recent injury to nTC Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell bumped the number from 21 to 27. Astros second baseman Craig Biggio (437) entered last night as the only player other than Ripken with an active streak of more than 230 games. Chicago White Sox left fielder Albert Belle (227) is one of only three with more than 200 consecutive games. Colorado's Vinny Castilla (144), Boston's Mo Vaughn (132), Colorado's Neifi Perez (129), Milwaukee's Jeromy Burnitz (112) and Montreal's Mark Grudzielanek (101) were the others in triple digits.
Around the horn
Brady Anderson passed Rick Dempsey last night for ninth all-time on the Orioles' games played list. Anderson has played 1,246 games in Baltimore. The Orioles have won 89 consecutive games when leading after eight innings. Ripken's fifth-inning single gave him 2,774 career hits, tying him with Andre Dawson for 39th place all-time. Scott Kamieniecki threw in the outfield before last night's game but has yet to receive clearance from the training staff to begin his return from a strained muscle on the right side of his neck. "I'm concerned about it," Miller said after the game. Palmeiro went 1-for-4 after going 9-for-14 with five RBIs in his previous three games. About 1,500 tickets remain for tonight's series opener against the Braves. Only scattered singles remain for tomorrow and Sunday.
Pub Date: 6/05/98