O's, Cubs discuss potential trade involving Payton

The Baltimore Sun

An industry source confirmed yesterday that the Orioles and Chicago Cubs have engaged in significant trade talks regarding outfielder Jay Payton as the non-waiver deadline approaches.

A Cubs scout attended last week's series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Camden Yards. Payton started two of the three games and went 2-for-8 with two RBIs.

In return for Payton, the Orioles likely would receive two mid-level prospects from the Cubs' farm system.

Payton signed a two-year, $9 million contract on Dec. 11. He began last night batting .270 with four homers, 37 RBIs, a .312 on-base percentage and .385 slugging percentage in 83 games.

The New York Mets also are interested in Payton and have dispatched a scout to Camden Yards.

The non-waiver trade deadline is Tuesday.

Meanwhile, interest in pitcher Steve Trachsel is fading as he continues to struggle since coming off the disabled list.

Baez returns

Reliever Danys Baez barely reached his locker yesterday before teammates called out to him, expressing their concern about his health and wondering what happened to him.

Baez didn't report to Camden Yards on Friday because of a stomach virus that still left him weakened yesterday, although he pitched a scoreless eighth inning last night.

Baez figures he caught the virus from his daughter, Daniella, who came down with it Tuesday and spent about six hours at a local hospital. The symptoms hit him as soon as he woke up Friday.

With Chris Ray on the DL, Chad Bradford closed out Friday's 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees. Baez might have gotten the assignment if not for his illness.

"I go with what I've got at the time," interim manager Dave Trembley said.

Tejada at DH?

Trembley hasn't said whether Miguel Tejada will start at shortstop today or be the team's designated hitter. But Trembley said the decision rests with him.

"I make out the lineup," he said. "Miggy, Kevin Millar, Brian Roberts, they don't write the lineup. I make out the lineup.

"You do what's in the best interest of the team first, the players second. I don't think there's ever a problem with that if you adequately communicate what you're doing and why you're doing it to your players. The problem enters into the equation when they feel like they're being blindsided and not given due respect. I'm the last man in the world who's not going to give people respect."

More work for Doyne

After the Orioles purchased reliever Cory Doyne's contract from Triple-A Norfolk on June 16, he retired one batter before heading back down to the minors. Recalled again Wednesday when Ray went on the disabled list, Doyne has appeared in three games in the past four days.

Doyne's responsibilities have grown along with his workload. He would have entered Thursday's game in a save situation if the Orioles hadn't built on a 6-5 lead by scoring four times in the eighth. Doyne pitched the ninth, allowing two runs.

"They might have just been trying to see how I'm going to do, and maybe I was the freshest arm in there, so they may as well put me in there," he said. "Wherever they put me, I'm going to try to do whatever it is I can do.

"It's not like I thought I deserved to be here, but I at least felt like I needed an opportunity to see what I could do. That way, if I can't make it here, I can go back and know what I need to work on. And they've given me the opportunity."

Doyne, who led the International League with 29 saves, said he struggled to find a comfort zone during his last two appearances at Norfolk and again while throwing a scoreless inning Wednesday.

Starting the ninth last night against the Yankees, he appeared even more uncomfortable, giving up four runs on five hits and retiring no one.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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