Oates won't rush Olson back to duty

Orioles notebook

July 18, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Gregg Olson remained unavailable last night as Orioles manager Johnny Oates continued to take precautionary measures with his relief ace.

"He threw on his own late last [Thursday] night and said he was OK -- but that's not sufficient," said Oates. "In this case I'd rather be too conservative and wait a day too much than be a day early."

Olson pronounced himself as "close to 100 percent," but that is the hang-up with Oates. "Until he can throw for five minutes in the bullpen at 100 percent, I'm not going to take a chance with him."

Olson has been sidelined nine days (including three for the All-Star break) with a strained muscle in his left side. He has shown continuous improvement, but remains on a day-to-day basis until Oates is convinced he won't risk further injury by pitching under game conditions.

TC Oates said he will rely on Olson, who is eager to return, to give him an honest evaluation. "If he was going to try to sneak out

there [before he was 100 percent], he would've done it already."

Day for meetings

Yesterday was a meeting day for Oates. He spent an hour in his office with his coaching staff before batting practice last night, and then met privately with catcher Rick Dempsey for 10 minutes.

The manager said there was no particular significance to either meeting. "We [he and the coaches] have to meet once in a while," he said, "just to kick things around."

The meeting with Dempsey was "to pick his mind a little bit," said Oates.

No scuffing evident

Oates was asked again about the possibility that Nolan Ryan had thrown scuffed baseballs in the Rangers' 5-2 win Thursday night. He reiterated that he personally had not seen a suspicious ball, but acknowledged that questions had been raised in the past.

"People have been saying things about Nolan for the last 15 years, depending on whom you talk to," said Oates. He also said he didn't think Ryan's reputation might make teams reluctant to make allegations.

"I don't think he's somebody you'd go after, if you didn't have anything," said Oates, who accused the Yankees' Tim Leary of illegally doctoring baseballs four weeks ago. He was asked if he would confront Ryan if he had the same [alleged] evidence.

"You better believe it," said Oates. "If I had five scuffed balls that I knew came from the pitcher's hand, I'd be doing my team an injustice if I didn't do something."

Williamson due test

Mark Williamson is scheduled to pitch a simulated game tomorrow in Frederick after which a decision is expected as to when he can begin a rehabilitation assignment.

The right-handed reliever is recovering from elbow surgery and has been sidelined since the second week of the season.

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