The Baltimore Orioles have made a contract offer to free agent outfielder and ex-Oriole Jeffrey Hammonds, and were expecting to hear a final word from Hammonds's agent by late Wednesday night or early Thursday.

"We have interest, and we're just waiting to see what's going on," said Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Jim Beattie. "It's not a done deal."

Hammonds, 33, played for the Orioles from 1993 to '98, and has bounced through four organizations since then. He was released June 5 by the San Francisco Giants, for whom he was hitting .211 with three homers and six RBI at the time. Hammonds's agent, Jeff Moorad, did not return a telephone message Wednesday night.

The Orioles have been searching for a right-handed bat ever since learning in May that outfielder Marty Cordova was unlikely to play this season because of lingering problems with his surgically repaired elbow.

The team pursued outfielder Raul Mondesi two weeks ago when he was released by Pittsburgh, but Mondesi signed with the Anaheim Angels.

Ainsworth Has Surgery

Right-hander Kurt Ainsworth had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday to clean up some inflamed tissue from his right elbow -- a condition known as synoritis. Head trainer Richie Bancells said no bone chips were discovered during the procedure.

"The elbow otherwise looked pretty good," Bancells said.

Ainsworth is expected to be out several months, since he will not be able to resume throwing for six to eight weeks. . . .

Injured right fielder Jay Gibbons (back spasms), who is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday, took batting practice before the game but probably will remain inactive until the weekend.