Olson opts for Indians over O's

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

March 16, 1995|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,Sun Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Reliever Gregg Olson has signed a minor-league contract with the Cleveland Indians, rather than accept a standing offer from the Orioles to work out at their St. Petersburg training site.

Olson threw for manager Phil Regan and assistant general manager Frank Robinson twice in the past month, but, as Robinson acknow-ledged yesterday, Olson was never offered a contract.

"We weren't satisfied at this point that he was ready to get hitters out," said Robinson. "We wanted to see a little more from him. We wanted to see a little more progress."

Olson, coming back from elbow trouble, was not a good fit with the Orioles, who have anointed Armando Benitez as their closer of the future and were close to signing veteran John Franco to a two-year deal when the owners instituted their hiring freeze in February.

Higuera to reconsider?

Free-agent left-hander Ted Higuera may change his mind again and accept the Orioles' offer to work out here. Regan talked with Higuera's agent yesterday, and said that the representative was trying to convince Higuera to join the Orioles.

Higuera, who impressed the Orioles in two auditions and agreed to train with the team last week, told his agent Monday that he didn't feel comfortable working out with the strike in progress.

Regan likes Higuera's potential and wants him here, and was somewhat confused by Higuera's reluctance, because the Orioles aren't participating in any replacement games.

"Having him in camp would help him and it would help us," Regan said.

Around the horn

Fourteen players assigned to the Orioles' Double-A team were demoted from the St. Petersburg training site to the one in Sarasota: Bryan Link, Jose Millares, Hector Castenada, Clayton Byrne, Eric Chavez, Trovin Valdez, Sean Hugo, Garrett Stephenson, Matt Jaris, Scott Emerson, Toby Lehman, Larry Shenk, Chris Lemp and Charles Devereux. Chuck Cottier's Birds won the final intrasquad game in the series against Marv Foley's O's yesterday, when Link singled home a run in the 10th for a 7-6 victory. . . . The Orioles' minor-leaguers begin their exhibition schedule March 18.

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