SAN DIEGO — Goose Gossage's arbitration hearing has been set for Sept. 19 in Houston, according to Don Fehr, executive director of the Major League Players Assn.
Arbitrator George Nicolau will hear the arguments that day and render a decision immediately. So Gossage--who was suspended Aug. 29 for criticizing the San Diego Padre front office--conceivably could pitch again Sept. 20.
The hearing is in Houston only because the Padres will be playing the Astros there that weekend.
"I'll ask a load of players to be witnesses," Fehr said. "They'll be able to explain what has gone on in that clubhouse."
Meanwhile, sources said that the players association wants Gossage to resume working out with the Padres early next week, so he'll be ready if he wins the case.
"If he (team President Ballard Smith) doesn't agree, he's dumb," the source said. "If the arbitrator reinstates him, I'd assume they'd want him ready to pitch. He hasn't thrown in a while, and he'll need preparation. Remember, a pennant race could be heating up between Houston and Cincinnati. I don't think Cincinnati will be too happy if the lead is down to four games, and Goose can't help the Padres win."
But Smith said: "No, he (Gossage) is not allowed to work out with the club prior to the hearing."
Smith is glad the hearing is soon.
"We indicated that we'd like an expedited hearing," he said. "This way, he can pitch again right away. If we're wrong, he shouldn't be penalized any more than he has been. I mean, there are two possible penalties. One, he'll lose money. Two, he won't have been able to pitch. Well, he can get the money back, but not the time he missed pitching. So let's get this done."