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Feathers Are Ruffled in Orioles’ Nest

The $70-million Baltimore Orioles--that thirtysomething collection of veterans--remain a seemingly disinterested embarrassment. General Manager Pat Gillick probably will leave at the end of the season--along with 12 potential free agents?--because of the ongoing interference of owner Peter Angelos.

The owner’s latest reported move was to veto a possible deal sending Roberto Alomar and Rafael Palmeiro (who might have vetoed it as well because of a no-trade provision to five teams) for Carlos Baerga, John Olerud and Dave Mlicki. Angelos didn’t want Baerga, although Baerga is said to have become a positive influence in the New York Met clubhouse, getting his behavior, body and bat in semi-order since leaving Cleveland.

Alomar and Palmeiro, both potential free agents, have been among the most visible of the Orioles’ half-hearted performers, according to scouts.

“It is unfair to blame two guys out of 25,” Alomar said of the accusations. “We win together and we lose together. All I can do is try to hit the ball and field it. That’s just telling the truth.”

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Angelos ran off Davey Johnson as manager and already has issued a vote of confidence to Ray Miller, his choice as successor.

Miller blew last weekend, ripping Scott Kamieniecki and his pitchers for continually working behind in the count.

In an obscenity-laced tirade, Miller said he was about two . . . days away from “picking up the phone and telling Peter Angelos to get me every . . . 20-year-old who’s got the guts to throw the ball over the plate.

“I’m tired of looking at this . . . .”

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How hot have the Yankees been? Between April 7 and May 26, the Yankees lost six games. Tampa Bay knuckleballer Dennis Springer lost eight in that span.

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The Randy Johnson developments obscured Seattle Mariner Manager Lou Piniella’s most recent closer change. Piniella has gone from Heathcliff Slocumb to Mike Timlin to Bobby Ayala and now to rookie Steve Gajkowski, who made his major league debut against the Orioles on Monday and got Cal Ripken Jr., the first batter he faced, to foul out--then ultimately forced Jeff Reboulet to end the game on a double play.

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“That fellow that finished the game for us had good movement, good sink on the ball,” Piniella said.

That fellow?

Piniella said he knew the name but “I just don’t know how to pronounce it or spell it. I hope he does well enough that I have to learn.”

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New Chicago White Sox Manager Jerry Manuel changed his batting coach and pitching coach last week, had a private talk with Albert Belle about Belle’s lack of hustle (as if it that was a new development) and heard Frank Thomas sound off about the club’s release of another veteran, Ruben Sierra, and his feeling that the 11 players with less than one year of major league experience should show more enthusiasm.

“I hope we have some type of direction, but you have to have some guys that have played at this level,” Thomas said.

“If not, you’ll be the laughingstock of the league. . . .

“I just want to see us go to another level. I’ve wasted a lot of summers here. I don’t want to waste another.”

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Thomas said Manuel has to cope with the hand he was dealt, but Manuel didn’t seem appeased after meeting with Thomas.

“I’m the manager,” he said. “So to say something about the progress of the team is like throwing rocks at me.”


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