Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on April 6, 1991 · Page 13
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 13

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Saturday, April 6, 1991
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College basreikll b Detroiter Daedra Charles is nation's top women's college basketball player. Page 2B. Saturday, April 6, 1991 SECTlon B Horse racing, Page 6 Comics, Pages 10, 11 Scoreboard, Page 12 Scores: 1-976-1313, Sports: 222-6660 JJclroit 4frcc rc$s rw I lgers waive Lemon Debs Santos takeshisspot on opening club BY GENE GUIDI Free Press Sports Writer LAKELAND, Fla. Reliever Mike Henneman said it best while he warmed up in the Joker Mar-chant Stadium bullpen Friday: "My heart really isn't in this." Henneman was talking about the news that swept through the Tigers' training complex during Friday's game with the Reds: Veteran outfielder Chet Lemon a Tiger since 1981 had just been put on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. "Another one gone from 1984," shortstop Alan Trammell said. "There aren't many of us left." Only Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Dave Bergman have been with the Tigers continuously since their World Series championship team. Lemon, 36, had heard talk of a possible release in the clubhouse. He had missed more than half the spring games because of injury first with a sore shoulder, then after being hit in the face with a throw. Friday, the rumors became reality when Lemon was summoned into manager Sparky Anderson's office midway through the Tigers' next-to-last exhibition game. Lemon will be replaced on the t roster by Luis de los Santos, signed 1 Friday. De los Santos, 24, a 6-foot-5 first basemanthird baseman, was released by the Royals earlier this week. He hit .220 in two brief trials with Kansas City. The Tigers haven't ruled out the possibility of signing free agent outfielder Pete Incaviglia, although interim general manager Joe McDonald said Friday he thought such a move was "improbable." The Tigers must still pay Lemon See TIGERS, Page 4B Lemon, Galcekr: Different stories but same ending LAKELAND, Fla. It was just a few minutes before 10 o'clock in the morning of what would become one of the worst days in the lives of two very different baseball players. Billy Muffett, the Tigers' pitching coach, was sitting on a bench outside the locker room passing the time with a couple of writers when the locker room door opened slightly and Billy Consolo, another coach, nodded to Muffett. "Sparky wants to see you," he said. "He wants you to bring Gakeler." It was Friday the day before the Tigers break spring training and for Dan Gakeler, a 26-year-old right-hander, training camp had lasted two days too long. If it hadn't have been for Thursday and what happened in Clearwater, he would probably be on his way back to the Detroit this afternoon. Dan Gakeler A Detroit Tiger. A major leaguer for the first time. Finally after seven years of knocking around in the minors without a single day in the bigs. 'But when Muffett came for him, . Charlie Vincent : i - AP Chet Lemon's smile wasn't the only one that disappeared Friday in the Tigers' clubhouse. T;:e if r,:o:i Fin Lemon's Tigers tenure 1981: Tigers trade outfielder Steve Kemp to White Sox for outfielder Chet Lemon, Nov. 27. 1982: Hit In first three at-bats; hit .304 in second half. 1983: Hit career-high 24 ; homers. Had five-RBI game. : 1984: Voted All-Star Game starter. ' 1985: Had 10-game April hitting streak. 1986: Had 14-game hitting , streak, five-RBI game. 1987: Hitting .175 May 15 but finished with 20 homers, 75RBIS. 1988: Moved from centerto right; 8 homers In last month. 1989: Worst season of career. Missed 12 games with injuries, 11 with family troubles. 1 990: Missed 47 games with hand, shoulder, calf, thumb injuries. No. 5 all-time with 151 hit-by-pitches. Lemon's Tigers statistics YR AB R HR Bl AVG '82 436 75 19 52 .266 "83 491 7B 24 69 .255 '84 509 77 20 76 .287 '85 517 69 18 68 .265 '86 403 45 12 53 .251 '87 470 75 20 75 .277 '88 512 67 17 64 .264 '89 414 45 7 47 J237 '90 322 39 5 32 .258 Pet 4074 570 142 536.263 Tot 6868 973 215 884.273 Inside Relief will again be a key toward Tigers' improvement. Incaviglia coming? Depends on the source. Rose leaves halfway house; umpires' talks continue. Details, Pages 4B, 58. he knew he would not be a major leaguer this time, either. After what happened Thursday, though, he was not surprised. In his seventh and final exhibition appearance, against Philadelphia, he had been touched for five hits and six runs and gave up three walks, all in a single inning. The last spot on the Tigers' pitching staff was to be his or Mark Leiter's, and Gakeler seemed to be in the lead. Then there was that one awful inning and in his heart he had to know, that in just a few minutes, he had ruined his chances of being a Detroit Tiger. When he got to Joker Marchant Stadium Friday, though, he did . what he had done every morning this spring. He went to the cubicle in the far corner of the locker room and took out the jersey with No. 32 and GAKELER on the back. ' And he pulled it on, daring to hope it was not for the final time. An hour later after being summoned to Anderson's office and told he was being sent to the minors Gakeler was pulling it off, carefully placing it on a hanger and putting it away. At the other end of the locker room Lou Whitaker and Alan Tram-.. mell, Tony Phillips and Cecil Fielder and Chet Lemon were laughing and joking and cutting up, oblivious to what was to happen to one of them later in the day. Bill Gullickson extended his hand to Gakeler and wished him well. Mike Henneman did, too. And Dave Bergman walked down to say so long. But most of the Tigers didn't take notice. See Charlie Vincent, Page 4B TM1 VLWOL mm. J .v4 , ff V 2 JULIAN H. GONZALEZDetroit Free Press Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas scoots past Minnesota point guard Pooh Richardson to score two of his 15 points Friday night. Thomas played 33 minutes in his first game since Jan. 23 against the Celtics. Thomas feds twinges on 'big night for me' By Drew Sharp Free Press Sports Writer There it hung in the corner cubicle of the Pistons' locker room: For the first time since January, a gleaming white uniform bearing No. 11. A pair of unused red, white and blue Asics basketball shoes rested on the counter, along with a large welcome-back card. The scene had all the trappings of a long-awaited homecoming. Isiah Thomas was back after missing 32 games. Though not completely recovered from surgery Jan. 29 to repair ligament damage in his right wrist, Thomas returned to action Friday a month earlier than expected. But considering his 15-point, 11-assist effort against Minnesota, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Thomas was cleared to play Friday morning following a 30-minute examination by Dr. Kirk Watson in Hartford, Conn. "I decided that I might just as well go for it," Thomas said after he arrived at the Palace. "If it breaks again, then that's a chance that I'll have to take. I just wanted to get back as soon as possible." Thomas wore a plastic protective splint with a foam rubber lining. Thomas spent most of the pregame time with trainer Mike Abdenour and team physician Dr. Ben Paolucci, making last-minute adjustments on the splint. It didn't hinder Thomas at all. He made those trademark bullet passes with his right hand. He shot 4- ROO 0,'E Wings lead series, 1-0 PATE RESULT Thurs. Detroit 6, St. Louis 3 DATE SITE TIME Tonight St. Louis 8:35 Mon. Detroit 7:35 Wed. Detroit 7:35 Frl. St. Louis 8:35 April 14 Detroit 8:05 April 16 St. Louis 8:35 lt necessary Scoreboard Montreal 5, Buffalo 4 Boston 4, Hartford 3 Pittsburgh 5, New Jersey 4 (OT) Washington 3, NY Rangors 0 it . x - ! m m II t i Wings put BY KEITH GAVE Free Press Sports Writer ST. LOUIS With a decisive 6-3 victory in Game 1 of the Norris Division semifinals, the Wings managed to completely reverse the focus of their series against the St. Louis Blues. No longer is it: How are the Wings going to stop Brett Hull and Adam Oates? It is: How are the Blues going to stop Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fe-dorov? Hull and Oates can score, but can they play defense? We will find out tonight in Game 2 at The Arena. The Blues lost the opener for two reasons: Their checking line couldn't contain Yzerman, and their top scorers were outplayed by Fedorov and line-mates Shawn Burr and Kevin Miller. Hull scored two goals and assisted hd N ,-" ' - I .' , Hi 4 ft i - . .--, $ i : i , ' - i M " ' I I K' . 'I ' A , X. n ( t v- '4 i J m m WILLIAM ARCHIEDetrolt Free Press Brooke Millard, 10, of St. Charles, lets her sign describe her feelings Friday night when Isiah Thomas plays again at the Palace. of-7 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free throw line in 33 minutes. Thomas started each quarter. "It was a big night for me, but I think my teammates really wanted me to look good," Thomas said. "I felt a couple of twinges sometimes when I caught the ball, and it got a little weak near the end. Playing with this brace is going to take some adjusting because I don't have that much mobility in the wrist." See ISIAH THOMAS, Page 5B Blues on the defensive Stopping Yzerman, Fedorov is job No. 1 on one by Oates, but all of the Blues' goals came after the Wings had taken a commanding lead. Yzerman scored his second playoff hat trick, and Fedorov scored during a splendid defensive effort against Oates, who, with Hull, was on the ice for four Detroit goals. "We don't have to change our focus," Blues coach Brian Sutter bristled when the subject came up after practice Friday. "We've been very aware of Yzerman and Fedorov all season. . . . Sergei Fedorov is one of the most outstanding young players, if not the outstanding young player in the league. And Steve Yzerman has been Ibacl Piston scores 15 in win; was out 32 games BY CORKY MEINECKE Free Press Sports Writer . - In Boston and Chicago this morning, basketball fans are probably star-: ing forlornly at the box score of the Pistons' game Friday night at the Palace against Minnesota. Try this with your morning coffee, , Bulls and Celtics fans: '. Pistons captain Isiah Thomas, who ; on Jan. 29 wasn't expected to -be ; anywhere near a basketball court until the playoffs, played 33 minutes, made four of seven shots, scored 15 points . and had 11 assists in a 101-82 victory ; over the Timberwolves. This from a gay who missed 32 games, and last week said he felt like a 2-year-old, trying to regain the use of his damaged . right wrist. "It didn't hurt at all," Thomas said, "but at some points in the game it got weak." The T-Wolves were in the hunt until Thomas orchestrated a third-quarter rally that sealed the Pistons' fifth straight victory. "This probably isn't what they were hoping would happen," Pistons assistant Brendan Suhr said of the . Bulls and Celtics. There were other horrors to be -found in the Pistons' box score: Power forward John Salley's 19 points; center . Bill Laimbeer's 14 points and 15 re- bounds; guard Joe Dumars' 15 points and eight assists; and small forward Mark Aguirre's 20 points and nine rebounds. But Thomas' performance was the most encouraging. "Every play I wanted to make I made tonight," he said. "I didn't run into anything I couldn't do. It felt good to be out there again. ... I was aware of (the wrist) all the time, but I consciously tried not to baby it. I didn't want to favor it. I just wanted to go out there and jump into the fire." As for bad news, Dumars' team-See Pistons, Page 5B KISSKIG YOU When Isiah Thomas played his last game, a 1 1 1-94 loss to , Boston Jan. 23, the Pistons were -one-half game behind Chicago in the Central Division: TEAM W L PCT GB Chicago 28 12 .700 -Detroit 28 13 .683 Milwaukee 27 15 .643 2 The Pistons won their first five games without Thomas; overall, they were 18-14 without him. But the Bulls were 27-6 In that span. The Pistons' wi.i over Minnesota was their fifth straight The standings today: TEAM W L PCT GB Chicago 55 19 .743 - Detroit 47 27 .635 8 Milwaukee 44 30 .595 11 Thomas' return In 33 minutes, he scored 15 points on 4-for-7 shooting, with no three-pointers, 1 1 assists, two steals and two rebounds. there for years. "Believe me, I was thinking about about Yzerman and Fedorov the minute I walked off the ice Sunday night (after the regular season ended), Maybe we concerned about ourselves too much with that, and we didn't worry about some other things." ' Wings coach Bryan Murray was content to allow the Fedorov line to go toe-to-toe with the line of Oates, Hull and Dave Lowry. The Wings' unit produced three goals. Meantime, Yzerman and linemates Bob Probert and Paul Ysebaert got plenty of ice time against Blues' top checking line. Murray also double-shifted his captain with Johan Garpenlov and Marc Habscheid, effectively wearing out the Blues., "I certainly didn't try to get away See RED WINGS, Page 3B

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