O's Beattie listens, but trade front is 'pretty quiet'

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NEW YORK - Though his roster includes players who interest other teams, Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie said yesterday that he doesn't anticipate pulling off any trades before Sunday's deadline for setting postseason rosters.

The Orioles continue to make calls and stay in contact with various clubs, "but it's been pretty quiet for us," Beattie said.

"I wasn't expecting anything. We've had conversations on and off. People generally know what our thoughts are. We're not looking to move anybody or anything like that, so we're not hot to try to do anything. But we'll keep the lines of communication open. That's all at this point."

Contending teams such as the Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros need starting pitching. The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Sterling Hitchcock from the New York Yankees during the weekend, but he might not be enough to bring a division title.

Orioles pitchers Pat Hentgen and Buddy Groom, first baseman Jeff Conine and third baseman Tony Batista cleared waivers and can be traded. Pitchers Jason Johnson, Kerry Ligtenberg and B.J. Ryan were claimed by other teams, according to league sources.

"There are many players here who could certainly help contenders," Beattie said. "Look at the trades that are being made. You're getting some young A-ball prospects, and that's not really what we're trying to do.

"Every situation is different with respect to players and their contracts. People have said, 'You could trade this guy, you could trade that guy.' Clubs in general can't take on money. If you want to pay that money, you get better prospects. But we're not really looking to do that."

Asked if he would be content not making any more moves, Beattie said, "I'd be happy playing well. I'm more interested in trying to finish, have a great September and get this club playing well.

"I think we've done well adding prospects to our organization this year. Trying to just move guys to add more prospects isn't high on our list of things to do.

"We feel pretty good about the year already, but the most important thing for us is to finish strong so we can go into next year having questions answered with respect to positions, knowing what our strengths and weaknesses are. I think we're showing that we play tough, and with a little bit here, a little bit there next year, we can be tougher."

Beattie said he is satisfied with the team's effort, noting how it has continued to play hard while trailing late in games. He also credited former vice president Syd Thrift and associates for leaving the organization in better shape than it's perceived within the industry.

"The people who may have been maligned, I think some of that was not totally deserved," Beattie said. "Syd and the people who were in here before brought some pretty good players together."

Daal on comeback road

Left-hander Omar Daal is scheduled to go on a brief injury rehab assignment at short-season Aberdeen before being activated and perhaps making a few spot starts for the Orioles.

Daal, on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left rotator cuff, will pitch a simulated game tomorrow in Oakland and throw on the side Friday in Seattle before reporting to Aberdeen on Monday. The IronBirds' season ends Sept. 3.

Manager Mike Hargrove indicated that Daal, who's up to 60 pitches in bullpen sessions, could make one or two starts. The Orioles will go with a six-man rotation in September, so Daal will have to be squeezed in for this to happen.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Melvin Mora will join Jerry Hairston on a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie at Harrisburg beginning tonight.

Bigbie gets comfortable

Just as Brian Roberts and Luis Matos did earlier in the season, outfielder Larry Bigbie is beginning to find a comfort zone with the Orioles after starting out at Triple-A Ottawa.

Before going down with a shoulder injury, Bigbie hit .239 during a one-month trial with the Orioles that began in late May. Since coming off the disabled list and returning to the lineup on July 27, he is batting .323 (32-for-99), including three hits last night.

"When you get up here, you're trying to do everything you can to show them that you're ready to be here," he said before last night's effort, which included his fifth home run. "Once you get over the fact that you're here and you're going to play every day, you can get into a routine with the hitting coach, and it gets easier. Working at the game with [Terry Crowley], that's helped me a lot."

Bigbie started last night against Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, as Hargrove ignored the traditional left-right matchup. Bigbie went 3-for-3 against Pettitte on Aug. 14.

Lynx make playoff push

In their first year as the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate, the Lynx are making a strong push for the International League playoffs.

Ottawa, under manager Gary Allenson, had won five in a row before last night's game in Syracuse and was tied with Scranton-Wilkes Barre for the wild-card lead.

The Lynx, who have eight games remaining, are the only Orioles' full-season affiliate with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.

The Rochester Red Wings, who ended their relationship with the Orioles after 42 seasons to join the Minnesota Twins, began last night 65-70 and in fifth place in the six-team North Division.

Sun staff writer Joe Christensen contributed to this article.

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