Olson's latest exam results called positive

January 04, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Talks about a possible trade for Bobby Bonilla and negotiations for free agent Chris Sabo remained on hold, but there was one significant piece of news for the Orioles yesterday.

Gregg Olson underwent another physical examination, this one independent of the club, and is expected to start throwing before the end of next week. Jeff Moorad, the agent who represents Olson, said the latest test results were "positive" -- and that he expects to resume negotiations with the Orioles later this week.

Olson was examined in Birmingham, Ala., yesterday by Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedic specialist most noted for his treatment of Bo Jackson. The latest exam was done for the benefit of any teams interested in signing the right-handed closer, who became a free agent when the Orioles did not tender him a contract by the Dec. 20 deadline.

After suffering a slight tear of the elbow ligament, Olson missed the final two months of last season. The uncertainty of his physical condition, which included the possibility of surgery, and the fear of arbitration influenced the Orioles not to offer Olson a contract.

"Gregg's attitude is very positive, and he and I were extremely encouraged by the feedback we got," said Moorad, who has maintained that surgery wouldn't be necessary. "Dr. Andrews knows Gregg from his days at Auburn University," where Andrews was the school's orthopedic doctor and Olson and Jackson were teammates.

Olson was traveling last night and unavailable for comment, but Moorad said he is ready to start an off-season program to prepare for spring training. "They [Olson and Andrews] talked about a workout schedule for the next six weeks," said Moorad. "I expect that Gregg will begin throwing within the next 10 days."

Meanwhile, Moorad confirmed he has had discussions with other teams, most notably the California Angels. "We're going to meet with them [the Angels] at the end of the week," he said, "but, at the same time, our line of communication with the Orioles remains very open.

"I talked to Roland [Hemond, Orioles general manager] and Doug [Melvin, assistant GM], and we agreed to pick up negotiations in the next couple of days," said Moorad, who repeatedly has said that Olson's preference is to stay an Oriole.

Hemond said that at the time of their conversation yesterday he didn't know about Olson's latest exam and Moorad had not yet gotten any results from Andrews.

"I was unaware of that [the examination], but we did talk, and we'll talk again later in the week," said Hemond, who spent his first day in the office after a two-week vacation.

Hemond met yesterday with owner Peter Angelos but said there was nothing new to report.

The most pressing bit of paperwork on his desk would seem to be a continuation of trade talks with the Mets about Bonilla. But Hemond and Joe McIlvaine, the Mets GM, said they had no conversation yesterday.

"I didn't talk to the Mets, but we'll have further discussions," said Hemond. During his absence, rumors surfaced that the Orioles were near a deal that would send outfielder Mike Devereaux, first baseman David Segui and pitcher Brad Pennington to the Mets for Bonilla.

McIlvaine said: "I haven't talked to Roland since before Christmas. But I'm sure we'll talk some more. It's only one of many discussions we've had, but I'm sure it's to be continued."

There was some feeling that the possibility of the trade might have been damaged by premature speculation. "It's too bad those names came out," said McIlvaine, "because we've talked about a lot of names."

Meanwhile, Hemond and McIlvaine also were involved in negotiations for third baseman Sabo, which apparently stalled just before the holidays. "There's nothing new," said Jim Bronner, the agent who handles Sabo. "I've had no new substantive talks with any clubs."

FTC Newsday and The Associated Press reported last night that the Mets made Sabo a second offer yesterday and that the Dodgers might join the bidding.

Newsday reported that the Mets will play Bonilla at third base if they don't sign Sabo and at first base if they do. Rookie Alan Zinter and former Oriole Joe Orsulak are considered a possible platoon at first base.

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