Mussina says he's ready, but Oates decides to rest him a start

Orioles notebook

June 26, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

Right-hander Mike Mussina will be held out of tomorrow's series finale against the New York Yankees, even though he tried to convince manager Johnny Oates yesterday that his sore arm had improved enough for him to remain in the rotation.

"He said he's ready to pitch," Oates said, "but I would rather be safe than sorry. I listened to Mike, and I listened to the doctors. Mike didn't convince me enough. The doctors did."

Mussina, who is suffering from biceps tendinitis, lasted just 1 2/3 innings in Tuesday night's game against the Detroit Tigers. Club officials described the inflammation as "mild," and Oates wants to make sure it doesn't get any worse.

"It's a good time," he said. "He has only missed one start in two years. He wants to start, but Bos [pitching coach Dick Bosman] convinced him and the doctors convinced him that this would be best."

No starter has been announced to replace Mussina, but it probably will be one of three pitchers, after Alan Mills pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings last night in relief of Fernando Valenzuela to take himself out of consideration. Fellow reliever Mark Williamson still is a distinct possibility or the club could call up left-hander John O'Donoghue or newly acquired Kevin McGehee.

L Oates said the decision may not come until tomorrow morning.

If all goes well, Mussina probably would return to the rotation in his regular turn on Friday against the Chicago White Sox.

Oates didn't need much convincing to rest Mussina, but he was swayed by the strong performance of right-hander Rick Sutcliffe on Wednesday night. Sutcliffe was forced to miss a start while he served a five-game suspension, but came back on eight days' rest to record his first complete-game victory in more than a year.

Rhodes update

Left-hander Arthur Rhodes went through defensive drills again yesterday and will test his repaired knee in a three-inning simulated game today before a decision is made on the next step in his recovery from arthroscopic surgery.

Rhodes described his knee as "about 70 percent" yesterday, but he figures to embark on an injury rehabilitation assignment in the next few days.

Obando returns, leaves

Sherman Obando made his first start since he strained a hamstring in New York nearly a month ago, but his return was short and it wasn't very sweet.

Obando grounded out twice in two at-bats and left the game with cramps in both legs. His departure precipitated the impressive major-league debut of 1992 first-round draft choice Jeffrey Hammonds, but it also raised questions about Obando's continued viability on the Orioles roster.

He has been haunted by leg problems since he joined the Orioles as a Rule V draft choice this spring. The club seems intent on keeping him at the major-league level rather than risk losing him back to the Yankees, but he could be back on the disabled list soon if his availability is limited.

Murray waxes nostalgic

Former Orioles first baseman Eddie Murray reportedly said this week that he wouldn't mind returning to the club. This revelation came amid speculation that the struggling New York Mets soon will begin unloading their high-priced stars. It seems unlikely that the Orioles would pursue a deal for Murray, but club officials were happy to hear that he does not harbor ill feelings toward the city or the organization.

"I think it's great that Eddie has fond feelings for Baltimore," said club president Larry Lucchino.

Trade rumor

A rumor surfaced in Chicago yesterday that the Cubs were close to trading outfielder Willie Wilson and left-handed relief pitcher Chuck McElroy for Williamson, but Orioles officials shot it down in a hurry.

Wilson has been feuding with the Cubs and McElroy has not pitched well, so the deal makes no sense for an Orioles team that has displayed good chemistry and great relief pitching.

Media guide gets good review

The Orioles Media Guide was named the best in baseball by Baseball Collectors Digest recently, which came as great news to an Orioles public relations staff that does not get a lot of recognition for the countless hours spent compiling the 312-page book.

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