The Orioles defeated the Blue Jays, 7-5, in Toronto yesterday and following the game Baltimore's three-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, Jim Palmer, got on the phone back to the States to dash rumors that he will be traded.
The Orioles won their eighth game in the last 11 behind the pitching of Scott McGregor and Tim Stoddard and a three-for-four performance at the plate by Gary Roenicke.
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, team officials were fielding inquiries about the trade availability of Palmer, who two weeks ago was dropped from the starting rotation in favor of Sammy Stewart and who since has complained about his treatment at the hands of his employers.
General Manager Hank Peters said, "Four or five clubs have expressed an interest" in the disgruntled 36-year-old right-hander, who is 1-2 with a 7.44 earned run average this season.
And Peters said he would have no trouble trading "a pitcher of his stature," even with another year remaining on an estimated $500,000-a-year contract. But, the general manager said, it was pointless for him to negotiate with interested teams because Palmer has the contractual right to refuse to accept a trade and has not indicated which teams he'd be willing to play for.
Palmer, scheduled to make a rare "spot start" in Texas today, said he has decided he has no interest in moving, anyway. "My decision will be to stay in Baltimore," he said with finality.
Presumably this ends a half-month of doubt over Palmer's intentions, although his intentions are notoriously mercurial. He was lifted from the rotation May 6 after taking himself out in the first inning of a game in California, complaining of a stiff neck. Later during the road trip, he met with Manager Earl Weaver and said, "We decided it would be better if I went somewhere else."
Palmer has maintained that Peters had him ousted from the starting job and said again yesterday, "I'm sure Mr. Peters had something to do with the decision for me not to pitch."
Nonetheless, Palmer evidently is wedded to Baltimore, having decided he does not want to disrupt his home there and the lives of his two daughters, Jamie, 16, and Kelly, 12.
One of the more interesting rumors of Palmer's departure had him going to the New York Yankees in return for shortstop Bucky Dent, but there reportedly was fear among Baltimore team officials that Palmer would flower into his old form in New York and win 20 games for the Yankees, creating a major embarrassment.
In yesterday's Oriole victory, Roenicke hit a first-inning homer, his 10th of the year, with the bases empty and he and shortstop Bobby Bonner each had two runs batted in. McGregor (6-3) gave up nine hits and struck out five batters over 7 2/3 innings before giving way to Stoddard, who earned his third save, yielding no hits and striking out two in 1 1/3 innings.
Indians 9, Twins 2: Cleveland's Andre Thornton hit a three-run homer and Rick Manning homered with the bases empty in Minneapolis.
Len Barker (5-2) allowed only four hits in handing Minnesota its sixth straight loss. Barker struck out seven and walked two in posting his second complete game.
Thornton hit his AL-leading 12th homer, into the left field seats off loser Pete Redfern (2-6), with one out in the first after Miguel Dilone singled and Mike Hargrove walked.