An unsuspecting star, Mussina joins AL team Olson and Hoiles are left off squad 1993 ALL-STAR GAME AT CAMDEN YARDS

July 09, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

Mike Mussina's golf clubs were all shined and there was a course somewhere in the region just beckoning him to 18 holes or more early next week.

But the links will have to wait, since Mussina was named to the American League All-Star squad for Tuesday's game at Camden Yards.

"This is a surprise to me, considering the way I pitched the last month or so," said Mussina. "I'm deeply honored, though, to go for a second year, and especially to play here in front of the home fans."

Mussina was the only Oriole to be named to the squad of reserves and pitchers named yesterday by Toronto manager Cito Gaston and American League president Bobby Brown.

Catcher Chris Hoiles and closer Gregg Olson were left off the team. Olson's exclusion seemed to be the most glaring.

Olson's 23 saves are second in the league to Kansas City Royals reliever Jeff Montgomery's 25, and he has a 1.27 ERA.

Yet Olson, who was selected in 1990, was passed over for Montgomery, Minnesota's Rick Aguilera and Toronto's Duane Ward. Aguilera and Ward have fewer saves and a higher ERA than Olson.

"I guess I'm not worthy of being picked," said Olson. "I thought my numbers were good enough, but I guess they weren't. I thought I might have been good enough to go last year, so I'm 0-for-2."

To Gaston, Olson got caught up in the numbers crunch.

"It was tough to [leave Olson off]," said Gaston. "But they [the Orioles] had two representatives. In light of that, I certainly couldn't overlook stoppers like Montgomery and Aguilera and I wasn't about to overlook Ward after what he's done for me this year. I'm pretty sure some guys will be upset about it."

But one of them was not Hoiles, whose .290 batting average, 16 homers and 40 RBI at decision time were slightly better than the .299average, seven homers and 34 RBI compiled by Oakland catcher Terry Steinbach, who was Gaston's only Athletics representative.

But with Detroit's Mickey Tettleton, who leads the league in homers and is second to teammate Cecil Fielder in RBI, being left off the team, Hoiles was philosophical.

"If it didn't come this year, there will be other years," said Hoiles. "I might have fun with the three days off. As long as my stuff gets to stay in my locker, I'm OK."

After a strong April and May, Mussina appeared to be a lock to make the All-Star team. He was 9-2 after beating Boston on June 11.

That game -- when he gave up eight hits and four runs in six innings in a 16-4 win -- was the start of a tailspin believed to have been due in part to his involvement in the bench-clearing brawl June 6 herewith the Seattle Mariners. After two ineffective performances, he missed a start two weeks ago because of biceps tendinitis in his right arm.

"I thought the Chicago game [last Friday, a 12-1 loss] knocked me pretty much out of it," said Mussina, who gave up seven runs and lasted just 3 2/3 innings in that game.

But his strong showing Wednesday in a 6-3 win over Kansas City (seven innings, four hits, one run) improved his record to 10-4 and probably locked up the All-Star berth.

Now the 24-year-old might not only get to pitch in the All-Star Game in his home park, but may start since Monday's off-day will fall on his scheduled start date.

"The only thing that would be bigger than this is if I got to pitch in World Series or playoff game here. But this is pretty big," said Mussina.

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