Orioles hit wall with Hidalgo


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Orioles have apparently reached a stalemate in their attempt to sign outfielder Richard Hidalgo.

The Orioles have offered the free agent, who hit .221 last season with 16 homers, 43 RBIs in 308 at-bats for the Texas Rangers, a minor league contract with incentives, but Hidalgo is holding out for a major league deal.

At this point, it appears unlikely that the Orioles, who are intrigued by Hidalgo as someone who could improve their outfield defense and possibly add pop to the lineup, will make Hidalgo a major league offer.

Hidalgo, the 30-year-old right-handed-hitting outfielder who is a close friend of Orioles All-Star third baseman Melvin Mora, hit 25 or more homers in two previous seasons and had a career-high 44 homers in 2000.

Orioles make deal

The Orioles acquired first baseman-third baseman Andy Tracy from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named. Tracy is signed to a minor league deal but is expected to report to Fort Lauderdale Stadium with the rest of the position players this week.

Tracy, 32, has batted .224 with 13 home runs in 136 major league games with the Montreal Expos and Colorado Rockies. Last season, he hit .325 for Colorado's Triple-A affiliate before he was released.

Patterson arrives

Outfielder Corey Patterson became the latest position player to arrive at camp, as he met a couple of his new teammates yesterday afternoon. Outfield prospects Jeff Fiorentino and Nick Markakis were also among the early arrivals who stopped by the stadium.

Patterson, acquired by the Orioles from the Chicago Cubs in a trade for two minor leaguers, said he is eager to get started with his new team.

"I've been with the Cubs [organization] for the past seven years ... but that's the past and now it's time to move on," said Patterson, who will compete with Luis Matos and Markakis for the center-field job. "I am happy that the Orioles wanted to trade for me."

Williams OK

Reliever Todd Williams left yesterday's workout early, complaining of soreness in his right shoulder. He said it was just a precautionary move, and he said he wasn't concerned it is anything serious.


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