MILWAUKEE, AUG. 6 -- The agent for suspended infielder Alan Wiggins said today that a racial slur led to a clubhouse scuffle with Cal Ripken Sr. and that a grievance had been filed against the Baltimore Orioles.

Wiggins told agent Tony Attanasio he grabbed Ripken's uniform only after Ripken told him, "Sit down, boy."

Ripken denied the charge, saying, "That's quite incorrect."

The Orioles suspended Wiggins after the incident, which followed a batting-cage encounter with outfielder Jim Dwyer and was Wiggins' second in as many days with Ripken.

Attanasio sent the grievance to the Major League Players Association this morning. Under rules of the Basic Agreement, the matter will be decided by an arbitrator if the two sides can't reach an agreement. However, an arbitrator may not hear the case for 30 days, and, by then, it could be a moot point because the Orioles probably will release him, according to sources.

In the grievance, Attanasio claimed that, besides the racial slur, the Orioles had no grounds for suspending Wiggins and didn't follow procedures.

"This doesn't meet the test of a true act of insubordination," he said. "I don't remember anyone ever getting suspended for this . . . You can't suspend a guy because he's belligerent. They didn't even take the necessary steps. You can't just do it and say goodbye. You have to notify the player in writing and the players association in writing."

Wiggins has twice undergone treatment for drug addiction, but Attanasio said, "He's absolutely clean. All you have to do is test him."

In a television interview at BWI Airport today, Wiggins said he never touched Ripken and claimed he was attacked by Dwyer Wednesday night. "He {Dwyer} provokes a fight and I get suspended," Wiggins said.

Orioles General Manager Hank Peters said the suspension was for three days, meaning Wiggins would be eligible to play Saturday at Memorial Stadium against Texas. However, before he gets a chance to put a uniform on, the Orioles probably will release him. Owner Edward Bennett Williams opposed a move to release Wiggins three weeks ago because he has an $800,000 guaranteed contract for 1988.

If Wiggins wins the grievance, the Orioles would have to reinstate or release him immediately. But, since his release appears imminent, the Orioles would be arguing against having to pay Wiggins' salary for the length of the suspension. Based on his $700,000 salary for 1987, that is $12,209.

Wiggins left Milwaukee this morning to return to Baltimore, and Attanasio instructed him not to go to Memorial Stadium until the matter is resolved.

"I really believe he shouldn't play for the Orioles anymore," Attanasio said. "My feelings are that he got there because of Ed Williams' desire to have him, and I think it was over the protestations of Hank Peters. I don't think he {Peters} did anything to motivate him {Wiggins}. The guy's a good player. . . . No one is saying Alan is perfect, but others aren't, either.

"Clearly, they don't want him on the club. If they don't want him and can't trade him, they should release him. It's a tough decision because of the money. I think they could offer to share the remaining financial risks and trade him."

Peters declined to comment on the specifics of the incident, but said he believes Wiggins had been treated fairly.

"I think we've tried to be fair," Peters said. "I think Cal has made a sincere effort from the first day of spring training. We gave him every chance to be productive and a part of this team."

Asked if Wiggins could ever play for the Orioles again, Peters said, "I wouldn't want to touch that. It's a difficult situation. A lot of things have happened involving management and coaches and his relationship with players."

Attanasio hinted that Ripken's racial slur wasn't the only one involved. "If all the slurs we know about ever come out, Ed Williams will go through the ceiling," he said.

In the Orioles' clubhouse today, Wiggins was criticized by several players and coaches. Relationships have been especially strained the last few weeks, and teammates say Wiggins' behavior has become increasingly erratic.

"I think maybe he's reaching out for help, but he's doing it in a helluva strange way," Orioles coach Elrod Hendricks said. "This guy needs professional counseling. He just has too many emotional peaks and valleys. I've tried to reach him, but haven't been able to."

It was the incident with Dwyer that led Wiggins into a clubhouse meeting with Ripken Wednesday. Wiggins told Attanasio that Dwyer grabbed him after Wiggins made a joke about batting-practice pitcher Sammy Snider's wildness.

But Dwyer said the remark was no joke. "There'd been a couple of pitches thrown inside," Dwyer said, "and he {Wiggins} said, 'Hit him in the head.' "

Attanasio defended Wiggins: "Everyone knows his personality grates on people. I'm not sure there's a right and wrong in this, but Dwyer could have said something like, 'Shut the hell up, Alan.' . . . Dwyer runs around the bases, Alan runs around the bases, and the next thing he knows, Dwyer is on him."

He said Wiggins didn't defend himself because, "I've told him time and time again not to do anything to act in a belligerent manner."

Dwyer walked Wiggins around the batting cage with his hands grasping the collar of Wiggins' uniform. They were separated by Hendricks and coach Jimmy Williams and outfielder Larry Sheets.

When Wiggins said, "I'm going to get my bat," Hendricks ended up wrestling Wiggins into the batting cage. Wiggins told Attanasio he was never the aggressor, but it several times appeared Wiggins was still trying to go after Dwyer after the two had been separated. He also appeared to swing a fungo bat in Hendricks' direction.

"I don't know about that," Attansasio said. "He did say Elrod hurt him, pushed a bat against him."

Hendricks said: "I was trying to be the peacemaker, and he ended up mad at me. He told me I was part of a conspiracy out to get him."

Ripken and Wiggins went into the clubhouse, where both men could be heard screaming. Wiggins was heard telling Ripken, "{Deleted} you, man." Ripken said that after that and after Wiggins grabbed his uniform, he decided to suspend him.

"I certainly gave him a chance and feel I've been fair to him," Ripken said. "I can't say I saw this coming, but I felt he carried the batting practice thing entirely too far."

Tuesday, Ripken and Wiggins exchanged words over Wiggins' not setting up an appointment to take early hitting.

"I've never known a person I couldn't get along with or relate to," said Orioles third baseman Ray Knight. "Alan Wiggins is the first . . . There are people that are abrasive, and he's one. He rubbed people the wrong way, and I don't know if he wanted to relate to anyone."