Injuries may throw off young starters

Orioles notebook

September 28, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

This is the time of year when the front-office types like to get a look at their young pitchers, but that might not be a practical course of action for the Orioles this week.

They were eliminated from the American League East race Sunday, but the number of late-season injuries suffered by the pitching staff may force manager Johnny Oates to keep sending his healthy veterans to the mound.

"You'd like to see some of the kids get a chance to pitch," Oates said, "but [Gregg] Olson is done for all practical purposes, [Mike] Mussina is done and Willie [Mark Williamson] may be, too. JTC We may need those [young] guys in the bullpen."

No one is ruling out another appearance by Olson, but Oates said yesterday that time had grown too short to have any realistic hope of Olson making enough progress this week to dispel doubts about his injured elbow before next spring.

"I would like to say we could find out something in the next few days, but I just don't think we're going to get to the point where we're going to go home knowing he's 100 percent," Oates said. "There's just not enough time left."

Mussina already has been shut down for the remainder of the season. Williamson suffered a groin strain during Sunday's second game and probably will be shelved the rest of the way. That leaves the club with three experienced relievers, which may not be enough to allow Oates to trot out promising prospects Kevin McGehee, John O'Donoghue and Mike Oquist for late-season starts.

There is another factor that might dissuade Oates from that course of action -- the continuing fight to finish as high in the standings as possible.

"I believe we'll be playing for some spot right up to the end," Oates said. "Assuming that New York loses one more or Toronto wins one, there are four teams playing for two spots."

The three-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers tightened the race for second and third place. The Orioles, Yankees, Tigers and Boston Red Sox have a shot at those two spots, and there is some money and pride involved.

The Orioles are in a perfect position to make a move, if they have it in them. They play all of their remaining games against teams ahead of them, so they can fight their way back into second place without any outside help.

Glaring omission

SportsTicker inadvertently caused a stir last night when the wire service sent out the Orioles starting lineup with one prominent name omitted.

The lineup had minor-league catcher Cesar Devares batting third and playing shortstop for the Orioles instead of Cal Ripken. It didn't take long for the phones to start ringing, and the mistake was corrected in a matter of minutes.

Devereaux still hoping

Mike Devereaux still is a couple of days away from being able to play on the bruised heel that he aggravated in Friday night's loss to the Tigers, but he isn't quite ready to say that his season is over.

"I don't think so," he said yesterday. "It might be a couple of days. It's kind of in a dormant stage right now. I know one thing. I won't be going out there without pain."

Why go out there at all? Devereaux says it's a simple matter of wanting to play, but nothing is that simple anymore.

There also are financial incentives to getting back to the plate. He needs five more RBI to reach 80 for the season, which is an important run-production plateau when it comes time for an arbitration hearing.

Low self-esteem

Someone asked submarine-throwing reliever Todd Frohwirth the other day if he is going to be the next Dan Quisenberry.

"No," he said succinctly. "Dan Quisenberry got people out."

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