BALTIMORE, AUG. 7 -- Alan Wiggins' relationship with the Baltimore Orioles took another odd turn today when the club announced he would be in uniform for Saturday night's game against the Texas Rangers.
The announcement was a surprise because club officials were again leaning toward releasing Wiggins after he was involved in three separate altercations with a teammate and Manager Cal Ripken Sr. this week. But after a meeting of the Orioles' front office today, General Manager Hank Peters said Wiggins will return.
The Orioles wouldn't reveal how they arrived at their decision, but in a similar meeting earlier this season team owner Edward Bennett Williams vetoed his baseball staff's decision to release Wiggins.
The reason was money. Wiggins is earning $700,000 this season and will make $800,000 in 1988 whether he plays or not. Williams has complained in the past about having to pay "alimony," his term for paying players who are no longer on the roster.
Peters wouldn't say what he would discuss in a meeting with Wiggins, and he also wouldn't speculate on how Wiggins will be accepted in the clubhouse.
"I don't know about that," Peters said. "That's up to everyone in there to decide."
Wiggins said he, too, wants to get the issue behind him and emphasized again today he'd done nothing wrong.
"That's all I want to do, come back and play," he said. "I can go on with it. How they accept me is their problem. I'm willing to forgive and forget. If anyone was transgressed on, it was me. Otherwise, I don't know how they're feeling. We'll just have to see. I don't know what Hank is going to say, so I don't know what I'm going to say to him."
He added: "I have no hard feelings. I have none. But I don't think I was wrong at all. It's not right for someone to accost you physically. You wouldn't walk up to someone on the street. I thought they had laws against things like this, but I guess I was mistaken."
If he does end up back in uniform, his reception could be less than warm. He was involved in a heated argument with Ripken on Tuesday, then on Wednesday had to be separated from outfielder Jim Dwyer.
He then went into the clubhouse and, according to Ripken, cursed Ripken and grabbed him. Wiggins denies touching Ripken, and said he cursed only after Ripken said, "Sit down, boy."
Ripken denies calling Wiggins "boy."
Also, clubhouse opinion has been overwhelmingly against Wiggins. Third baseman Ray Knight said publicly what several others had said privately when he said: "I've seen it brewing. I'm not surprised about it, and if he comes back I wouldn't be surprised if something else happened."
Today, several players seemed stunned that Wiggins will return, although one said: "I wouldn't want to give him $800,000, either."
Meanwhile, Peters wouldn't say if he'd filed a response to Wiggins' grievance against the club. The three-day suspension cost Wiggins $12,209 of his $700,000 salary.