Wait-and-see approach likely for shocked Orioles Jackson's release stuns Robinson

March 19, 1991|By Mark Hyman

Bo Jackson, out of baseball?

Baltimore Orioles manager Frank Robinson sat in his hotel room in Sarasota, Fla., last night and tried to digest the news. The

tone of his voice suggested something close to disbelief.

"I'm shocked," Robinson said. "This is something out of the clear blue. You don't expect Bo Jackson to be released. I know he had an injury. But you always had the feeling that Bo Jackson was indestructible."

The news was so surprising, in fact, that Orioles officials said it was too soon to say whether they would be interested in signing Jackson to a contract.

Last night, Robinson said he had not discussed the Jackson development with Orioles president Larry Lucchino, general manager Roland Hemond or player personnel director Doug Melvin.

Melvin was unaware of the Kansas City Royals' decision to release Jackson until he was informed by a reporter. He guessed that the Orioles' approach would be cautious.

"I would think Larry, Roland, Frank and I -- the baseball people -- would at least talk about it," Melvin said. "It's something to review because he is such a fine talent. But you've got to be cautious, too. When you're talking about a situation like this, with an injury, you are getting involved with big money."

Robinson said, "I would think everyone would have an interest. But it's a matter of waiting to see if Bo is going to be able to play."

If Jackson is finished as a baseball player, it will be because of an injury suffered while playing professional football. However, Robinson refused to second-guess Jackson for his controversial

decision to compete in both sports.

"Each individual has to do his own thing," Robinson said. "When I've talked to college and even high school kids, I've told them, 'If you want to play baseball, leave football alone. They don't mix.' One play, one injury, and you could wipe out a baseball career. But, like I said, that's an individual's decision."

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