KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Right-hander Mark Williamson, who was struck on the right forearm by a line drive Thursday night, threw lightly before last night's game and reported no problems.
"No disabled list for me," he told manager John Oates.
It still could be days before he is able to pitch, but it now seems very unlikely that he'll be out of action for any extended period.
"I don't think it will be long at all," Williamson said. "I don't really bruise that badly anyway. It might look terrible, but I'll probably be able to pitch."
It isn't pretty. The line drive, hit by Kansas City Royals infielder Terry Shumpert, left seam marks where it struck Williamson and sent him to nearby St. Lukes Hospital for X-rays. Williamson said he was surprised that the bone was not broken.
"I was scared," he said. "If I had broken it, that would have meant six weeks in a cast and probably six weeks getting it strong again."
But once he found out the bone wasn't fractured, he expressed optimism that he would be back in the bullpen soon.
"I don't know about pitching in this series," he said. "But with three days left here and an off day on Monday, I might be able to pitch in Cleveland if I feel good."
Oates said yesterday that the consensus of the club's front office is that 1990 first-round draft choice Mike Mussina is not ready to move into the major league starting rotation, but he would not rule out a promotion after the All-Star break.
"He's progressing," Oates said, "but he hasn't shown that he's an eight or nine-inning pitcher. He's growing and maturing, but our people could not recommend him for the major leagues right now."
Oates added, however, that as few as three or four more starts might be enough to change that appraisal.
"It could be that he's working on something that after three or four times out, he might have refined it enough to pitch in a major league game," Oates said.
The minor leagues aren't exactly stocked with pitchers who can move right into the major-league pitching picture, but there are some possibilities if the Orioles need help.
Oates said that newly acquired Jim Poole, former Kansas City prospect Israel Sanchez and Anthony Telford are ready to pitch at the major league level if a need arises.
"I'm not the kind of person who makes changes just to make changes," Oates said, "but everyone knows that you do the job and you're going to stay. If you don't, you don't. That's the way it's always been and it goes from the manager right on down the line."
The father of Royals pitcher Mark Gubicza died suddenly of a heart attack early yesterday morning, so his son went home to Philadelphia and missed his start last night.
In place of Gubicza, rookie Mike Magnante made his first major-league start.
Royals ace Bret Saberhagen threw 73 pitches in the bullpen yesterday and reported no problems. He has been on the disabled list since coming up with a sore shoulder after a June 12 start against the Orioles at Memorial Stadium.
Saberhagen will be eligible to come off the disabled list next week.
The Orioles will take part in a Red Cross Blood Drive, sponsored by 98 Rock (no relation to Florida Rock, which was supposed to sponsor spring training). The drive will begin at noon on Sunday at the Memorial Stadium Hit and Run Club. The Orioles wives will take part. . . . Chris Hoiles entered the game in an 0-for-14 slump. . . . Bill Ripken entered the game batting .321 in his previous 10 games.