Olson armed with Ryan as adviser for off-season Strikeout king had same ailment in '86

September 30, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Gregg Olson's off-season rehabilitation program will include consultation with a high-profile adviser -- Nolan Ryan.

The two have had a long-distance phone conversation, and there will be more in the coming months.

"As far as I know he's the only one who was diagnosed with the same injury who has gone the route I'm taking," Olson said. "He didn't get it fixed [with surgery], he went through rehabilitation."

Olson has what has been diagnosed as a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Except for a one-batter appearance in Cleveland last week, the Orioles closer has been sidelined since Aug. 8.

Olson sought out Ryan, who suffered his partial ligament tear in 1986, when the Texas Rangers were in town last month. "I spoke with him briefly, but it was the night before he was going to pitch and it wasn't a good time," said Olson.

That was Aug. 20, the first night the Rangers were in town, when Ryan had a news conference as part of his traveling routine. "Then the next night he blew out [with an injured rib cage muscle] and went back to Texas," said Olson, "so I never got a chance to talk to him in person.

"But the day after he went home, he called Freddie Tyler [who runs the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards]. He said he knew I wanted to talk to him and he gave Freddie his phone number and told me to call.

"That was outstanding," Olson said of Ryan's effort. "He didn't have to do that -- he had problems of his own. But I did call him, and he was great. I plan to call him again during the off-season.

"When Nolan had this injury he was in different circumstances. He was 40, and he didn't feel like he had a year to spare [for surgery]. So he rehabbed it. His advice to me was to get my arm checked -- get as many opinions as I can."

Once the season ends, Olson's rehabilitation will consist of a strength program. He will not throw until after Jan. 1, when the pitchers traditionally begin preparation for spring training.

In the meantime, he plans to continue consultations with Ryan, whose training program helped him through 26 big-league seasons.

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