As expected, American League President Bobby Brown announced tonight that he would not rescind the trade that brought infielder Jackie Gutierrez to the Baltimore Orioles last winter.
Brown said that since neither the Orioles nor the Boston Red Sox knew of Gutierrez's problems when the trade was made, he wouldn't intercede.
"In the absence of deliberate subterfuge or chicanery, the league office cannot intercede . . . " Brown said. "To do so would be to get into innumerable controversies, many of which have no reasonable solution."
However, Brown did tell the Orioles, who requested the veto, that if there are future problems with Gutierrez, they have the right to request another player from Boston.
The Orioles first learned there might be a problem with Gutierrez after a trade for reliever Sammy Stewart was completed in December. At the time, they were told he had acted strangely a couple of times playing winter ball in Latin America and had been released by two teams.
Just before spring training, Gutierrez flew to Baltimore, where he was examined by psychiatrists. Shortly after the examinations, the Orioles gave the American League medical data and asked that the trade be rescinded or the Red Sox be ordered to give up another player.
The Orioles have consistently refused to comment on Gutierrez's problems, but sources said he appeared to be suffering from a serious depression on at least two occasions in the past year. Those sources also said the illness probably can be treated with medication, but doctors are uncertain enough of the effects on Gutierrez to prompt the Orioles to ask that the trade be rescinded.
Including a 0-for-1 performance in the Orioles' 5-1 loss to the Red Sox tonight, Gutierrez hasn't had a hit in four spring at-bats. But, defensively he has been outstanding.
"The only thing I can tell you is that I was sick," Gutierrez said. "Anybody can be sick. Now, everything is clearing up. But it's still not right, yet.
"I was depressed. Anybody in the world can be depressed. A lot of things were wrong. Now, I'm just trying to forget about everything that happened in the past.