- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2002

BALTIMORE If the Major League Baseball players' union chooses to set a strike date, it will have the full support of the Baltimore Orioles.
Orioles player representative Jason Johnson said his teammates have given unanimous approval for such action, a message he passed on to the rest of the union during yesterday's teleconference.
Johnson said he and his fellow reps were not asked to vote on a strike date yesterday, though "everybody was totally ready if we needed to. Not a single team said no."
Johnson will be in Chicago on Monday for a union meeting, which falls on an off day for the Orioles between series at Detroit and Minnesota. He said he did not know whether a vote would be taken then.
The Baltimore right-hander also has discussed steroid testing with teammates, and said they are generally in support of a proposal.
"A majority of the guys, I guess you could say, want something done as far as steroid testing is concerned," Johnson said. "But we aren't ready to put a proposal about it until we get a majority vote on what we think should be done."
Another shot for Gibbons
Jay Gibbons sat out his third straight game last night but was given a cortisone shot in his aching right wrist that he hopes will allow him to play pain-free for the next couple of weeks.
Gibbons, who underwent surgery to remove his hamate bone last winter, still has a suture in the wrist that has not dissolved, which has resulted in lingering pain all season. He said he'll have arthroscopic surgery to remove the suture at the end of the season, but until then will have to hope the cortisone shots enable him to play in comfort.
"I went in for another evaluation [yesterday] and they said the same thing they can't find anything wrong with it other than that stitch in there," said Gibbons, who received his first cortisone shot a few weeks ago. "I don't want to do this too many times; I'm hoping this is it. The last one lasted 10 days."
Rotation roundup
Jason Johnson has other things to worry about besides labor negotiations. He's eligible to come off the disabled list today and will likely make his return to the starting rotation Friday in Detroit.
Johnson, who had tendinitis in his right shoulder, threw a simulated game Monday in Toronto, pitching well enough to prompt manager Mike Hargrove to say, "Jason's ready to come off."
Who Johnson will replace in the rotation is another question. Rookie John Stephens made two starts in his place, and though he gave up 13 runs in his first five innings, rebounded to pitch well against the Blue Jays on Sunday.
"Obviously, someone has to come out of the rotation, and the logical person would be John," Hargrove said. "But we've got a couple days before we have to make a decision on that. We'll see where we're at then."
The Orioles had listed tomorrow's starting pitcher as undecided, but yesterday announced that Travis Driskill will maintain his place and start against the Twins.
Extra bases
A decision will be made today whether Jeff Conine, out since June 15 with a strained right hamstring, will head out on a brief rehab assignment or simply rejoin the Orioles.
Shortstop Mike Bordick was due to have the immobilizer removed from his fractured right kneecap yesterday. His return to the active roster does not appear to be far off.

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