Yankees unsure of Olson


Free-agent reliever Gregg Olson worked out at Yankee Stadium yesterday morning, but he apparently did not throw hard enough for New York officials to draw any conclusions about his physical condition.

"He worked out, but he was throwing about 65 percent," Yankees general manager Gene Michael said. "I don't think he's capable of [throwing at full speed] yet."

The Yankees are one of three teams -- other than the Orioles -- believed to still be involved in negotiations with Olson and agent Jeff Moorad. The Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves also have been mentioned, and Moorad said late Thursday night that a decision could come this weekend.

No doubt, Moorad hoped that Olson would show enough yesterday to persuade the Yankees to make a solid offer, but Michael indicated that the workout might have been a waste of time and travel. Olson, who wants to show that he has recovered from a slightly torn elbow ligament, also was hampered by a sore ankle.

Was the workout useful at all?

"Right now, no," Michael said. "We have no way of knowing if he'll be ready."

Michael would not say whether the Yankees still might make an offer for Olson. The club is looking hard for bullpen help, but could turn back to free agent right-hander Steve Farr. Farr, who also has a questionable right elbow, worked out for Yankees officials recently and his performance received positive reviews.

The Blue Jays could be a better fit for Olson, who might benefit from a reduced workload while he is working his arm back into shape, but the Orioles remain in the picture. Moorad said Thursday that he probably would give the Orioles a chance to match any offer.

Moorad expressed the hope that the situation would be resolved by the end of the weekend, but he was in Hawaii yesterday for an NFL Pro Bowl function and will not be back in his office until late today.

The Orioles say they are interested in bringing Olson back, but yesterday's workout raised eyebrows in their front office. "If he can throw for them," said one Orioles executive, "why couldn't he throw for us?"

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