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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio • Page 23

Cincinnati, Ohio
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TC Tuesday, April 5, 1994 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER SportSC5 Opening '94 Carrasco's party rolls on 6i I 31 1 it mm situation a little easier than that," Reds manager Davey Johnson said, "but it's just the way it worked out. I fooled around and fooled around, and that's what I was left with." Carrasco wasn't fooling around. He struck out Cardinals second baseman Luis Alicea to start it off, but then walked catcher Erik Pap-pas, and a single by left fielder Bernard Gilkey put runners at first and second. Carrasco got Ray Lankford to" strike out swinging, but followed that by walking Ozzie Smith to load the bases. That brought up No.

3 man Gregg Jefferies, a .342 hitter last year who already had two hits. Nervous? "I wasn't nervous," Carrasco said again, smiling again. "If I was nervous, maybe I walk him." Over on the dugout steps, Rijo was shouting encouragement. Sort of. "Rijo, he told me, 'If you're going to throw the sinker, I'm going to send you back to rookie Carrasco said.

If Rijo doesn't have that kind of authority over Carrasco, he has that kind of influence. Carrasco went back to the mid-90s fastball and hard slider, and got Jefferies in an 0-2 hole. But Jefferies worked that to a full count. "To be honest with you, I thought Jefferies was going to get him," Rijo said. But Carrasco got Jefferies to pop out to Lenny Harris at second, preserving the tie.

And Kevin Mitchell's homer in the bottom of the 10th made him a winner. Carrasco was a starter in all 28 of his games last year at Class A Kane County. But he made the Reds as a reliever this spring after three saves, a 1.88 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 14V3 innings. He thinks he's found his niche. "I want to be a closer for my career," he said.

"Come in for one inning, boom, get everybody out." And buddy Rijo thinks he's found a meal ticket. "Next year, I'm going to become his lawyer," Rijo said, "and make a lot of BY RORY GLYNN The Cincinnati Enquirer They've been partying for days in San Pedro de Macoris, Hector Carrasco's hometown, ever since Carrasco made the Reds' roster. "For four, five days," Carrasco said. "Lots of eating, drinking, dancing." They thought the party peaked Sunday night, when Carrasco's parents, his brother Johnny, his best friend Felo, and a throng of other well-wishers Carrasco numbered as 3,000 gathered in and around the family home to watch the ESPN feed of the Reds' Sunday opener. But don't turn off the lights just yet.

Monday afternoon, Hector Carrasco made his first major-league appearance, and won his first major-league game. "Maybe they start another party," Carrasco said. Carrasco was the winning pitcher in the Reds' 5-4, 10-inning victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Riverfront Stadium. He struck out two and pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th to do it.

Fittingly, Carrasco conducted his first postgame news conference in front of the locker of his friend and mentor, Jose Rijo. Time and again, Carrasco was asked if he had been nervous out there, and time and again, Carrasco smiled and politely explained that he hadn't been. "Baloney," Rijo chimed in, except he didn't say baloney. "I don't know if he was nervous," Rijo explained later, "but I was." That's the beauty of Carrasco. The 24-year-old rookie had never pitched above Class A ball before this When the time came, maybe Carrasco just didn't know he was supposed to be nervous.

And there was plenty to be nervous about. Carrasco made his debut in the 10th inning of a 4-4 tie in the game all Cincinnati was considering Opening Day. "I was hoping to get him into a I A I It lit 'i ill j. JL-! 4 Dodger admits drugs Strawberry to enter treatment center The Associated Press LOS ANGELES Darryl Strawberry, in tears and distraught over having let down the Los Angeles Dodgers, told the team Monday he has a drug problem and immediately will enter a treatment center. Strawberry, who disappeared from the Dodgers for a day, was placed on the disabled list.General manager Fred Claire said he could not predict when or if the outfielder will rejoin the team.

"He's dealing with a problem that goes beyond the game," Claire said. "He did deal previously with a problem with alcohol. This is a substance abuse problem." Strawberry's attorney, Bob Sha- piro, specifically said this latest episode concerns drugs. He did not say what drug his client has been using. "He is not going to be playing on opening day," Shapiro said.

"He is going to be in a drug treatment center. He is taking this as seriously as anybody I've ever met." The Dodgers start their season -today at home against Florida. Strawberry met with Claire on Monday to discuss his mysterious absence Sunday, which prompted an all-day search by the Dodgers. When the Dodgers located him Sunday night, Claire said Strawberry did not have a sufficient explanation for his disapperance. Claire, speaking at a news conference, would not disclose Strawberry's initial explanation for leaving the team.

"What he told me yesterday would have been an unacceptable reason to me," Claire said. "What he told me today shed new light on the situation." This was the latest in a series of personal problems that have plagued Strawberry since he broke into the majors with the New York Mets in 1983. Along with his alcohol treatment, Strawberry fought with teammate Keith Hernandez during spring training and feuded with manager Davey Johnson in New York. Strawberry admitted hitting his first wife, Lisa, from whom he is now divorced, and was arrested for threatening her with a gun. He has also said he considered suicide at one point.

"Darryl was very emotional, in tears," Claire said. "He was very disappointed. He felt he had let his teammates down, that he had let the organization down. If anything, I tried to lift some of that off of him." Manager Tom Lasorda, speaking on KMPC radio, said: "Darryl let us down. He let everybody down But I'm hoping and praying this will make him a better person I knew there was something causing all of this.

I didn't know what it was." Strawberry will be paid while he is on the disabled list. The Dodgers owe him $8 million for the last two seasons of a five-year, $20.25 million contract. Asked if Strawberry will play again for the Dodgers, Claire said, "I think that's uncertain. I don't know the answer to that." A 3 The Cincinnati EnquirerGlenn Hartong Reds rookie reliever Hector Carrasco got his first major-league victory Monday against St. Louis, preserving a 10th-inning tie long enough for Kevin Mitchell's game-winning home run.

Smiley starts strong again with no win REDS AVERAGES NOTEBOOK HITTING 2B 3B HR RBI 0 2 1 Player AB Sanders 2 8 3 Mitchell 2 8 2 Oliver 2 6 1 Boone 2 7 0 Kelly 2 7 1 Morris 2 9 0 Larkin 2 8 1 Fernandez 2 8 0 Brumfield 0 0 0 Rip 1 0 0 Howard 1 1 0 Howard 1 2 0 Dorsett 1 0 0 Harris 1 2 0 Branson 110 Greene 110 Ruffin 1 0 0 Brantley 1 0 0 Pugh 1 0 0 Browning 0 0 0 Smiley 1 2 0 Walton 0 0 0 Carrasco 0 0 0 Jarvis 0 0 0 Hanson 0 0 0 McElroy 0 0 0 Walton 0 0 0 Totals 70 8 ever pain he felt. "I was more than pumped," McElroy said. "I just told myself to slow down. We won the game, that's what's important." A LOSS: Monday's sunny skies and warmer temperatures had Reds manager Davey Johnson reflecting on the wisdom of the Sunday night opener. "I think Marge (Schott, Reds President and CEO) was right," Johnson said.

"This is a good day for a parade, a good day for Opening Day. We'll just put an asterisk by that loss last night." REMEMBERING GORDY: Gordy Coleman, the former Reds first baseman who died recently at age 59, was honored with a moment of silence before Monday' game. THAT HURTS: Fernandez had his left elbow iced after Monday's game, after being hit by a pitch from Rheal Cormier in the second inning. Fernandez stayed in the game, but expects to be sore today. "I asked him to stay in," said Johnson.

"He did have a little trouble hitting right-handed after that." BY RORY GLYNN and TOM GROESCHEN The Cincinnati Enquirer For the second year in a row, John Smiley turned in a strong outing in his first appearance for the Reds. For the second straight year, Smiley didn't get a victory. But Smiley built upon the foundation of solid pitching he laid this spring. He blanked the Cardinals through five innings Monday, ran into some hard luck in the sixth, but still was the pitcher of record when the Reds led, 4-3. He wound up with no decision in the Reds' 5-4, 10-inning victory Monday.

A year ago, his Reds debut, Smiley held the Montreal Expos to two runs on four hits over seven innings, but took the loss. He didn't pick up his first victory as a Red until May 13. The left-hander doesn't see the same thing happening this year. "That (outing) took a lot of weight off my shoulders," Smiley said. "I'm just happy to be part of a win, and happy I had a good outing." Smiley, 3-9 with a 5.62 ERA in a 1993 season shortened by elbow surgery, scattered five hits over the first AVQ .500 .375 .333 .266 .286 .222 .125 .125 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 ooo .000 ooo .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .242 ERA 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 450 4.76 720 0.00 five innings.

He struck out seven. In the sixth, Todd Zeile doubled with one out, then Mark Whiten hit a chopper to third that Tony Fernandez couldn't handle. If Fernandez makes that play, the inning ends when Smiley strikes out Brian Jordan one batter later. Instead, Zeile and Whiten, who advanced when Smiley threw a wild pitch on strike three to Jordan, scored on Luis Alicea's single. Tim Pugh then relieved Smiley, but Pugh allowed Alicea to score.

No hard feelings, Smiley said. "The guys played hard behind me," he said. WILD THING: Reliever Chuck "Gas Can" McElroy tossed dynamite on the fire immediately, with two bang-bang wild pitches in his first Reds appearance. In the eighth, McElroy's first pitch skipped to the backstop and allowed the tying run to score. His next one went wild again, and the crowd booed angrily.

McElroy settled down and worked out of the inning. As a former Cub, McElroy is used to adversity. A Reds' victory eased what BB SO SV IP ER Player OWL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 4 0 Ruffin 1 0 0 2 00 McElroy 1 0 0 0 67 Browning 0 0 0 0 00 Dibble 0 0 0 0 00 Brantley 2 0 0 2 67 Carrasco 1 10 100 Hanson 0 0 0 0 00 Pugh 1 0 0 2 00 Smiley 5 0 0 6.67 Rijo 10 1 5 00 Jarvis 0 0 0 0.00 Totals 1 1 19.00 24 10 11 19 0 3.78 Power of the presidency pays off Clintons enjoy dream day James Carville and Paul Begala. Stephanopoulos is a long-suffering Cleve-lander who was born seven years after the Indians last appeared in a World Series. Mixing sports with politics, Begala said the president chose Cleveland because Jacobs Field is one of two new baseball stadiums opening this year.

"The other one is in Arlington, Texas. You know who owns that team. Guess the invitation got lost in the mail," Begala said. The Texas Rangers are partly owned by George W. Bush, the former president's son and the Republican nominee for governor.

From Cleveland, the president flew to Charlotte, N.C., where Arkansas was meeting Duke in the NCAA final. It was Clinton's third trip to a Razorbacks game during the tournament. "It will be a great game," Clinton said. "You have to respect the fact that Duke has been (in the championship game) three of the last four years." Clinton's sports double-header was the final highlight of a week-long vacation, most of it spent oceanside in California. In Chicago, meanwhile, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton tossed out the first ceremonial pitch for the Cubs' season opener against the New York Mets.

Wearing a blue Cubs blazer and baseball cap, she threw the ball from the first row of seats on the third-base side of the field. The first lady, who grew up a Cubs fan, unabashedly cheered her Cubs and smooched broadcaster Harry Caray in the announcer's booth after the two sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch. "That's going to put you in the class of really true music lovers when you sing along with me," Caray observed, getting Clinton's name wrong at one point, saying "Rodman" instead of Hillary Rodham Clinton. She didn't seem to notice. When they parted, he gave her a big kiss on the cheek.

In Cleveland, after the opening festivities, the president settled into the second-level owner's box to watch the Indians open their season in sunny, 48 weather. Along for the game were several big baseball fans among Clinton's advisers, included Anthony Lake, his national security adviser, and George Stephanopoulos, a senior adviser, and his top political advisers, iui upuna cmiiusiaaia Enquirer news services CLEVELAND President Clinton celebrated a sports fantasy day Monday helping dedicate the Cleveland Indians' glistening new ballpark before rooting his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks to victory in the NCAA basketball championship. Wearing an Indians windbreaker, Clinton floated a strike to Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar, the ceremonial first pitch at the new downtown Jacobs Field. The sellout crowd of 42,000 roared its approval. For the record, the left-hander's pitch didn't have much velocity.

But it made the 60 feet, 6 inches from the pitching rubber to the plate unlike the 1991 opening day pitch President Bush bounced to the plate in Baltimore. "It started high the only thing you can't do is put it in the dirt," Clinton joked with reporters later. "It was a little high." Clinton wore an old-style Indians cap, emblazoned with a instead of the smiling Chief Wahoo, a team symbol that draws protests from some American Indian groups. 1 1 The Associated Press First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton gets a big kiss from Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray in the press box of Wrigley Field. She tossed out ihe first ball.

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