Ramirez and Mussina file for free agency on first day

Saturday, October 28th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Just hours after the final out of the World Series, baseball's business season began when Cleveland outfielder Manny Ramirez, Baltimore right-hander Mike Mussina and eight others filed for free agency.

Ramirez, Mussina and Seattle shortstop Alex Rodriguez are expected to get the three highest contracts among this year's free-agent class. A total of 157 players potentially are eligible to file by the Nov. 10 deadline.

Ramirez is thought to be the top priority of the three-time World Series champion New York Yankees, just sixth in the American League in runs scored. The outfielder's agent, Jeff Moorad, met earlier this week in Cleveland with the Indians.

Cleveland owner Larry Dolan and general manager John Hart would like to keep the outfielder, who grew up in New York. He hit .351 with 38 homers and 122 RBIs in only 439 at-bats this year.

``His first choice was always to remain in Cleveland,'' Moorad said Friday. ``We intend to give John Hart and Larry Dolan every opportunity over the next several weeks to put something together.''

Mussina, a 31-year-old right-hander went 11-15 this season with a 3.79 ERA and 210 strikeouts, eight short of his career high.

``Hopefully, Mike comes back,'' Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. ``I would like to see Mike back, as everybody would. But that remains to be seen, and if it happens that Mike doesn't come back, we'll move on.''

Mike Bordick, traded from Baltimore to the Mets in July, also was among the 10 who filed Friday. Bordick, who could go back to the Orioles, hit just .121 (4-for-33) in the postseason with no RBIs.

Also filing Friday were three catchers: Todd Hundley of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sandy Alomar of the Indians and Tom Lampkin of Seattle.

The others filing were Colorado outfielders Jeffrey Hammonds and Todd Hollandsworth, St. Louis shortstop-outfielder Shawon Dunston and San Diego third baseman Dave Magadan.