FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Gregg Olson apparently has put to rest any fear that he wouldn't be ready Opening Day. The Orioles' ace reliever played catch with pitching coach Al Jackson for 15 minutes before last night's game with the Yankees and reported no ill effects.
"I didn't feel anything," said Olson.
Encouraged by the workout, Jackson said Olson would immediately return to his regular schedule. "He'll get an inning Saturday [against the Red Sox in Washington's RFK Stadium]," said Jackson.
"I need to get another inning [before Monday's opener], but I'll be ready," said Olson.
"It's just part of spring training," Jackson said of the Olson scare. "Sometimes you just have to pitch through these things to prove to yourself that you're OK."
The report was encouraging to manager Frank Robinson, who didn't like the prospect of having his top starter (Ben McDonald) and reliever on the sidelines to start the season.
* PITCHING PROBABLES: Dave Johnson and Roy Smith will start the exhibition games against the Red Sox Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Danny Darwin will pitch for Boston Saturday, but the Red Sox haven't named a starter for Sunday's game.
The Chicago White Sox have named Jack McDowell as their Opening Day pitcher against the Orioles Monday.
* MESA PEAKING: After a sluggish start in the exhibition season, Jose Mesa came on strong to put a lock on the No. 2 spot in the Orioles' McDonald-less rotation.
The righthander went seven innings in last night's 3-2 win over the Yankees, allowing eight hits and one run. Mesa finished spring training with a 2-0 record and a 2.67 earned run average. He will pitch the second game of the season against the White Sox Wednesday night.
* WORTHY LEADER: Craig Worthington virtually clinched the Orioles' spring RBI title by driving in all three runs last night. The third baseman hit his second home run off Andy Hawkins with a man on in the second inning, then produced another run with an infield grounder in the sixth.
With two exhibition games left, Worthington has 17 RBIs, five more than Cal Ripken and Mike Devereaux.
* TWO FIRSTS FOR BUTCH: Butch Burnett, a clubhouse assistant for the Orioles for the last four years, registered a pair of firsts this spring. He attended his first training camp, working the full session from Sarasota to the east coast of Florida, logging as many highway miles as any of the players.
Burnett's first spring training was culminated by his first airplane flight, when he returned home on the team charter last night. In recognition of his turbulent experience, Butch was presented his own set of wings. And reminded not to be late for this morning's practice.