Sandwiched between a couple of meetings and some heart-to-heart talks, the Baltimore Orioles squeezed in a game this afternoon.
A good one, too -- a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Miami Stadium, in which Dennis Martinez and reliever Rich Bordi allowed 11 hits, catcher Rick Dempsey hit a three-run homer and first baseman Eddie Murray played for the first time in 10 days.
Yet most of today's action wasn't on the field. Most of it concerned:
*Trades -- Orioles General Manager Hank Peters said he's out of the trading market now, although he wouldn't rule out something once the season begins. His biggest problem continues to be finding a taker for Martinez's $500,000 salary and third baseman Wayne Gross' $400,000.
Neither has earned a spot on the roster, although the Orioles have not eliminated keeping Martinez as a 10th pitcher until they can find a team willing to take him.
"There are only so many contracts you can eat," Manager Earl Weaver said. "I would like to take nine pitchers, but not at the expense of something that can't be rectified."
Peters did talk to Houston Astros General Manager Dick Wagner about catcher Alan Ashby yesterday, but Ashby's agent said no trade will be approved unless two years are added to Ashby's one-year, $450,000 contract.
*Talks -- Weaver and Murray had their first private meeting since Murray was named the Orioles' first captain, and Murray requested it. "It was a good one," Weaver said. "He can communicate some things to players that are better said by another player."
*Decisions -- Weaver also met with Martinez today, after the pitcher allowed the Braves four hits and a run in five innings. This is their second meeting of the week, and Martinez knows he'll be traded if the Orioles can find a taker.
*More decisions -- With Jackie Gutierrez definitely on the team as one utility infielder, Ricky Jones, Rex Hudler and Juan Bonilla are competing for the last spot, and Jones, a rookie, appears a solid favorite.
Murray, recovering from a severely sprained ankle, played five innings and grounded out twice and struck out once in three at bats. He said he took pitches he normally might have swung at because he needed to look at live pitching.
"The ankle is definitely better," he said. "I'm still not ready to air it out yet. The soreness around the bone is gone, but it's still sore on top of the foot. I hit every day in the cage, but that only goes so far."