The Baltimore Orioles corraled another player eligible for salary arbitration yesterday when pitcher Kevin Hickey agreed to a one-year contract worth $250,000.
"I've fooled them for another year," Hickey said jokingly, "but I'm going into spring training on a positive note. Last year wasn't exactly one you'd like to remember."
Hickey, who will turn 35 next month, was optioned to the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings midway through last season, but returned after 1 1/2 months and finished the year in Baltimore.
He was 1-3 with a 5.13 ERA and one save. If Jeff Ballard returns to the starting rotation, Hickey would be the only veteran left-hander in the bullpen.
The unsigned Orioles eligible for arbitration are Bill Ripken, Joe Orsulak, Rene Gonzales, Mark Williamson and Mickey Tettleton.
* Pitcher Brian Holton said yesterday that he has signed a one-year contract with the San Diego Padres.
"They want me to be their middle man," he said. "They got Larry An
dersen to help [Craig] Lefferts close, and they'd like me to set them up."
* Gregg Olson, who saved 37 games last season, said he isn't worried about his contract negotiations.
Olson, who returned from a Colorado vacation, said: "I didn't sign last year until mid to late February. They've got the arbitration guys to get signed first."