Today's flashback

Baseball America's Matt Eddy released the latest list of minor league free agents, one of my favorite features from the publication. Eddy reported that the Orioles re-signed pitcher Raul Rivero, so everyone can relax. Actually, Rivero was 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 37 relief appearances - 22 with Single-A Frederick and 15 with Double-A Bowie. The Giants allowed pitcher Denny Bautista to become a free agent, which led to my quick stroll down memory lane. But I never know what to wear. I was sitting in a hotel room in Seattle on Aug. 31, 2003, after the Orioles' 3-0 loss to the Mariners, when they announced a trade that sent first baseman Jeff Conine to the Marlins for minor league pitchers Denny Bautista and Don Levinski. If you don't remember Levinski, don't feel bad. I'm reminded of that trade every time the July 31 non-waiver deadline passes and fans mistakenly assume that their team is done making deals. Clubs must set their playoff rosters by the Aug. 31 deadline, and Conine barely made it to the Marlins. That one went right down to the wire and had me scrambling to write about it. Plus, I knew nothing about Bautista and Levinski. That date also comes to mind because Deivi Cruz served as the Orioles' designated hitter. That'll stay with you forever. Oh yeah, and manager Mike Hargrove gave Rule 5 pick Jose Morban a start at shortstop. Morban went 1-for-2, raising his average to .182. Hargrove must have grown tired of playing with a 24-man roster. Morban took up space all year and was gone. Jamie Moyer outdueled Jason Johnson that day. Armando Benitez was credited with a "hold" after striking out the only batter he faced. Benitez pitched for the Mariners? Though he was part of that Conine deal, Bautista will forever be remembered here for the June 21, 2004 trade that sent him to the Royals for veteran Jason Grimsley. Talk about fan backlash. The Orioles gave up a promising young arm, one that produced upper-90s fastballs, for...Jason Grimsley? Well, we know what happened to Grimsley. Meanwhile, Bautista has pitched for seven organizations. The guy gets around. "He does?" "Like a record." (Today's Office Space reference. You're welcome.) One more item: Bowie Baysox closer Pedro Beato was nominated by as one of the best relievers in Double-A this year. Fan voting determines the winner. You can offer your support for Beato at through Monday, Oct. 25.

After surgery, Erbe looks for smoother, cleaner me...
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