Notes: O's working on Burnett

Notes: O's working on Burnett

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Orioles and Florida Marlins are feverishly working on a deal to bring A.J. Burnett to Baltimore and the deal could be announced Tuesday, depending on if the Orioles can entice Burnett to sign an extension.

Club sources said the only holdup from a six-player deal -- that would also include outfielder Larry Bigbie, reliever Jorge Julio, prospect Hayden Penn and Florida's Mike Lowell and prospect Eric Reed -- is Burnett agreeing to an extension. Executive vice president Jim Beattie acknowledged Monday night at the Metrodome that talks are continuing, but would not specify a team or a player.

Those talks also affected an imminent roster move because Erik Bedard was activated from the disabled list. The club eventually designated right-hander James Baldwin for assignment. "We've been having ongoing discussions," Beattie said. "We've been holding off [on roster moves]. There's been a couple of ways this could have gone. And rather than leave the team short ... it looks like it's going to take a little while."

When asked whether the talks are involving the Marlins, Beattie said: "I'm acknowledging that there are talks going on that might impact the roster. That's all. That's fair. That's why we waited, otherwise we would have tried to do something earlier. But with respect to the information coming in and the timing of it, we tried not to make a move that would [hurt the roster]."

When it became apparent that the trade would not be consummated Monday, the club designated Baldwin, a tough break for the oft-traveled veteran who pitched well in the long relief role. He compiled a 1.61 ERA in 22 1/2 innings and allowed opponents a .218 batting average.

But that move could be a shape of things to come. If the Orioles do acquire Burnett, then they could move the struggling Sidney Ponson to the long relief role. Ponson is 2-7 with a 6.78 ERA in his past 12 starts and his spot in the rotation would seem to be the most tenuous.

Daniel Cabrera has been dominant of late, Bruce Chen has been the most consistent starter on the staff and Rodrigo Lopez is the team leader in wins.

According to the club source, the Orioles are trying to negotiate a three-year extension with Burnett, who is apparently demanding $9 million per season and four years. But his wife is from Columbia, Md., and he is said to be open to signing an extension.

Meanwhile, the Orioles appear open to taking on the remaining $18 million and two years left on Lowell's contract. But Beattie indicated that Lowell would not be playing third base for the Orioles.

When asked if he had any plans to move Melvin Mora from third base, Beattie said: "I wouldn't move Melvin out of third base, not unless Brooks Robinson is coming back."

Lowell has never played the outfield or third base, but manager Lee Mazzilli could move Jay Gibbons to left field and make Lowell the designated hitter.

Bigbie was not in the lineup Monday and may have played his final game as an Oriole. Bigbie usually starts against right-handers such as Minnesota's Carlos Silva, but B.J. Surhoff got the nod in left field Monday.

Burnett is scheduled to start Tuesday at Arizona and there is no word whether he will pitch in that game.

Kline declines: Beattie had no comment on whether he asked reliever Steve Kline to accept a demotion to Double-A Bowie to straighten out his mechanics and regain his confidence. But Kline said before Monday's game that he was approached by Beattie that morning.

Because Kline has six years of service time, he can reject any Minor League assignment. The Orioles were hoping Kline would go to the Minors so they would not have to designate Baldwin. Instead, Kline is with the club for the time being, but he has expressed his unhappiness with the Orioles and would not mind a trade.

Sosa back in right field: For the first time since June 30, Sammy Sosa was back in right field Monday. Sosa has been warming up offensively of late and had been the team's DH this month. Sosa had been a pleasant surprise defensively, but he struggled back in the No. 5 hole, unable to get the ball out of the infield in his first two at-bats.

Meanwhile, Mazzilli said catcher Javy Lopez could begin a rehabilitation assignment this weekend and could return to the club perhaps Monday against Texas.

755 to 3,000: Rafael Palmeiro, who collected career hit No. 3,000 Friday against Seattle, received a congratulatory e-mail from all-time home run leader Hank Aaron. Palmeiro joined Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with at least 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

"It was an honor," said Palmeiro, who also received a call from President Bush on Saturday.

Gary Washburn is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.