The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on March 12, 1989 · Page 27
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 27

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 12, 1989
Page 27
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C-6Baseball THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER Sunday, March 12, 1989 Champion Dodgers tottering at the top BY TRACY RIN'GOLSBY Dallas Morning News Three weeks into spring training, and the Los Angeles Dodgers already are learning the painful truth of the troubles in trying to repeat as a world champion. Nobody has done that since the 1977-78 New York Yankees no team has even made back-to-back appearances in the World Series since then, and only the 1984-85 Kansas City Royals have even won back-to-back division titles during that time. The Dodgers came into this spring knowing that their challenge would be difficult. They knew that John Tudor, who underwent off-season surgery on his left shoulder, knee and elbow, wasn't going to be available until at least mid-season. And they knew that Fernando Valenzuela, who made only two appearances in the final two months of 1988 because of shoulder problems, was doubtful. Valenzuela's first appearance of the spring six hits, four walks and seven runs in two innings did nothing to ease that concern. "He's just not ready," said manager Tommy Lasorda. "He's going to need some time to get over this thing." The Dodgers also have been hit with problems they didn't expect Kirk Gibson, the force in the lineup, is still limping on that right knee that limited him to pinch-hit duties in the World Series. And rookie phenom Ramon Martinez has failed to "phenomenate." Martinez's mechanics are so messed up that instead of stepping right into the Dodger rotation, the talk is that he's Baseball notebook going to be sent out to start the season in hopes he can get things back on track. As for Gibson, last week he decided to ignore the agonizing pain created by the calcium deposits in his right knee and go full speed. "We've tried to baby it and it is still sore," he said. "Now I'll try and push it and play through it. Within 10 days, we will know if I can play opening day or should consider other options." But just what those other options are nobody knows. Doctors have ruled out surgery. Injections to break down the scar tissue haven't been successful, and Gibson has made it clear: "I won't go through the season taking shots. I want to be able to walk away when I'm 35." Things are so bleak with the Dodger pitching that the team acquired right-handed pitcher Mike Morgan Saturday from Baltimore for outfielder Mike Devereaux. On Wednesday, GM Fred Claire and two scouts braved the elements to watch Morgan pitch two innings in a morning game against the Mets. "It's cold, raining and we're the only three people in the stands," noted Claire. Trade talk While Houston second baseman Billy Doran is expected to recover from knee surgery quick enough to be playing in April, the Astros are concerned enough the injury is chronic, and should have a deal for Minnesota's Steve Lom-barodzzi finalized quickly. The Twins would like to expand the deal so they can acquire a needed right-handed starter either Danny Darwin or Bob Forsch. The No. 1 right-hander in the Twins rotation right now is Fred Toliver. In 10 pro seasons, he's won eight games in the big leagues seven in 1988. Free swinging A newspaper clipping in which Boston's Roger Clemens says "I'm going to pitch a one-hitter on opening day. You can quote me on that," is posted on the Baltimore clubhouse. The Orioles open the season against Boston. As late as Christmas time, San Francisco pitcher Mike Krukow, recovering from arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery, couldn't even play catch with his kids. That's why Krukow and the Giants were so encouraged with his two-inning effort last week. San Diego's winter concern was the left side of its infield, and the worry remains. A week into the exhibition season, the Padres had 13 errors 10 by the shortstops and third basemen. They said it Oakland trainer Barry Weinberg on Jose Canseco, who was sidelined with a sprained wrist after his brother Ozzie broke a bone in his wrist while swinging a bat in an intrasquad game: "I think Jose is having sympathy pains for Ozzie. Then, I wouldn't know. I'm not into voodoo." While being measured for his uniform, Houston pitcher Bob Forsch was asked how long he wanted his pants: "Hopefully all year." Young, eager Bearcats are diamonds in rough BY TOM GROESCHEN The Cincinnati Enquirer Coach Jim Schmitz lost five of his Cincinnati Bearcats to professional baseball last June. That's good PR for the program, but bad for the 1989 Bearcats. Four of the departed were underclassmen. Plus, three other key performers are missing for various reasons. UC, 5-2 this season, will have trouble approaching last year's 28-21 record. Schmitz, young (32) and enthusiastic, is concerned but hardly daunted. "Out of what I considered our top 10 or 11 hitters, we lost seven," the LaSalle High graduate said. "We also lost last year's No. 1 and 2 starting pitchers and our 1-2 relievers. We have a lot of question marks." To the pros went senior pitcher Judd Johnson (Atlanta) and four juniors: pitcher Ron Stephens (White Sox), outfielder Joe Ten-hundfeld (Phillies), outfielder John Zaksek (White Sox), and pitcher Greg Gunderson (Phillies). Also absent is Chris Newton, last season's leading hitter at .381. Newton, a sophomore from Turpin High School, is out for the year after knee surgery. Missing, too, is Colerain High product Dave Abbott, who Schmitz projected as his top reliever and No. 3 hitter. Abbott did not return to school. Another loss was starting outfielder Jim Briede (Hamilton Bad-in), who graduated early. Finally, RBI leader Todd Seymour is out temporarily. Seymour, from Chillicothe, Ohio, is completing some academic work and will join the team on its spring tour through South Carolina next week. This year's key personnel in- College baseball elude outfielder K.B. Johnson, a Portsmouth, Ohio, product who hit .376 last season; catcher Joe Spriggs (.319) of Colerain; outfielder Mike Goedde (.288) of Elder), and Seymour (.328, 8 HR, 46 RBI). The pitching staff is led by Dave Hagen, a junior from Moeller High and a transfer from Miami. Hagen won his first two starts, including a one-hitter versus Hanover. Senior Tom Infante (Poland, Ohio) is the No. 2 pitcher, followed by Dave Pascarella (Austintown, Ohio) and Brian Pearson (Lakota). George Glinatsis (Youngstown Boardman) is the top reliever. "Our strengths should be pitching and defense," Schmitz said, citing shortstop Steve Soloria (Elder) as his defensive ace. s Chuck Barlage (Northwest) replaces Newton at second base. The third baseman is Jamie Baker of Hamilton. UC's weakness is a lack of hitting power and not much "experienced depth," Schmitz said. Schmitz, whose first team set a UC school record with 31 victories in 1987, admits this year could be his toughest. A new Metro Conference format junked the old North-South arrangement in favor of a round-robin schedule. That means UC now will play Southern powers Florida State and Southern Mississippi, which it had not been doing during recent regular seasons. "We're trying to be realistic. We just want to continually win more than we lose here," Schmitz said. "I hope people will recognize us for that, especially with the conference we're in." uiAni i-n r sports GOLF SHOP Owned and operated by Paul Tagher and PGA Professional Wayne Oien flM StaScf Golf Glove Men's or Women's right or Left Hand 'Limit 1 per customer wa $25 purchase 'You must present this ad for discount Sate prices good through 3-18-89 99 o Regrip Your Entire Set of Golf Clubs 20 No imit! 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