Angelos: Budget cuts no sign of sale


CHICAGO - Orioles owner Peter Angelos said a recent internal memo, asking some of the team's department heads to identify potential budget cuts of up to 10 to 20 percent, is not an indication that he is trying to sell the team.

Responding to an article in yesterday's Washington Times, Angelos said that like any company, the Orioles are simply trying to monitor their spending. He pointed to the team's recent player signings as proof that they are still committed to building a winner.

John Angelos, the team's executive vice president, sent the memo to the directors of business/administration, communications, corporate sales and sponsorship, sales and fan services, and ballpark operations.

It was not sent to baseball operations.

"The mere issuance of a memorandum suggesting potential savings in a greater degree in efficiency of operations does not suggest that the enterprise being reviewed is for sale," Peter Angelos said. "To suggest otherwise is absurd and clearly erroneous."

A copy of the one-page memo, dated April 29, was obtained yesterday by The Sun. In it, John Angelos said, "At the conclusion of this exercise, it is possible that no cuts will be taken. However, it is also possible that cuts of anywhere from 10-20 percent, if available, will be instituted."

The Orioles committed $121.5 million last offseason to sign free agents Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez, Sidney Ponson and Rafael Palmeiro, but still lowered their payroll from last season, when they were still saddled with the contracts of Albert Belle and Scott Erickson.

"The millions recently spent on player acquisitions hardly suggest we're on a cost-cutting crusade," Angelos said. "On the contrary, we are moving forward aggressively to produce a very competitive and winning team for our fans both this year and in the years ahead."

Hairston's sliding decision

Jerry Hairston returned to the lineup last night for the first time since he broke his right ring finger, sliding headfirst into third base on March 4, in the first inning of the first exhibition game.

Hairston said he slid feetfirst on all his stolen-base attempts during his rehab assignment, as he did on his first major league stolen base of the season last night in the sixth inning. "I will slide headfirst again," Hairston said. "I don't know when, but I will."

As expected, Hairston batted ninth and served as designated hitter, while second baseman Brian Roberts remained in the leadoff spot.

Hairston was 1-for-3 with a single before his stolen base. Roberts was 0-for-4, dropping his average to .305.

Team insiders said Hairston told the club he was open to playing the outfield to give them more options, but that probably won't happen. Hairston wants to stick at second base, where he is considered a Gold Glove-caliber talent.

Around the horn

Daniel Cabrera, who will make his major league debut tonight for the Orioles, held opponents to a .121 batting average for Double-A Bowie. His fastball consistently reaches 92-94 mph, and he throws a slurve - combination of a slider and curve - and a changeup. He struck out 11 in each of his past two starts. ... The Orioles pushed Erik Bedard's next start back to tomorrow. He'll be followed by Kurt Ainsworth on Friday and Eric DuBose on Saturday.

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