Mora Puts Extension On Hold

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 6, 2006

BALTIMORE, April 5 -- Negotiations between the Baltimore Orioles and Melvin Mora on a contract extension have been halted by the third baseman, who has decided to table discussions until after the season.

"I should have done it a long time ago," Mora said. "I just want to go play baseball."

The Orioles and Mora have been at odds over the third baseman's worth for more than six weeks. The Orioles had held firm on their offer of three years at $8 million each until Sunday, when according to agent Lon Babby, the team slightly increased its offer, though he declined to give details. Mora is asking for three years at $9 million.

"I guess I'm a little surprised," Orioles Vice President Jim Duquette said of the fact the sides couldn't agree. "As much as you try, sometimes you can't find the middle ground. Hopefully, we'll get there at the end of the season."

Though the talks have been tabled, one source said negotiations could start again with one phone call from the Orioles.

Mora, one of the premier third basemen in baseball, will be an attractive free agent at the end of the season. One source close to Mora said he would welcome the opportunity to play for the Philadelphia Phillies if they came calling. Not only are the Phillies located close to Baltimore, Mora would be playing alongside Bobby Abreu, one of his best friends in baseball.

J. Lopez at First

Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo said he's going to wait for Javy Lopez's bat to get hot before he puts the former catcher at first base. . . . The Orioles signed free agent left-handed pitcher Matt Perisho, who will spend a few days in the team's minor league facility in Sarasota, Fla., before likely heading to Class AAA Ottawa.

UP NEXT Today vs. Devil Rays 7:05 p.m. Benson (10-8, 4.13) vs. Hendrickson (11-8, 5.90) Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980 Tomorrow vs. Red Sox 7:05 p.m. Cabrera (10-13, 4.52) vs. Clement (13-6, 4.57) Comcast SportsNet, WWRC-1260

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