The Anniston Star from Anniston, Alabama on April 24, 1988 · Page 25
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The Anniston Star from Anniston, Alabama · Page 25

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Sunday, April 24, 1988
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Page 25
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Page 6B The Anniston Star. Sunday. April 24. 1988 Losing may prom p t some big-name deals Baseball notebook consistency with his breaking ball and off-speed pitches. A transition like that can take time. Don't be surprised to see some fireworks soon in San Diego. There are growing signs of a schism in the front office between president Chub Feeney and GM Jack McKeon, with manager Larry Bowa now supposedly in Feeney's camp. Signs of this discord were evident in last week's move to recall second baseman Roberto Alomar from the minors. Alomar is considered one of the best half-dozen prospects in baseball. However, McKeon persuaded Bowa before the season that Alomar would be best served by playing at least a half season in triple-A. But Bowa soured on third baseman Chris Brown a week into the season and apparently became determined to bury the engimatic player. McKeon went to bat for Brown, but, meanwhile, Bowa had convinced Feeney that Brown should be exiled. So Alomar is joining the Padres to play second with Randy Ready shifting to third and Brown moving to the bench. Meanwhile, Eric Show, the Padres' most established starting pitcher, is pushing to be traded and there is talk that he could be headed to the California Angels. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Phils made a run for Show since they have pursued him in the past. The relationship between Braves GM Bobby Cox and Manager Chuck Tanner continues to grow testy. Disenchanted with Tanner's hand-picked coaching staff. Cox last week brought in the Braves' triple-A batting coach, Clarence Jones, to work with the Atlanta hitters. Cox also grew so disgusted with the lackadaisical play of second baseman Damaso Garcia that he recalled young second baseman Ron Gant during a game in Houston last week without consulting Tanner. And there was increasing skepticism about Tanner's decision not to have an advance scout. For example, at a key point in a game with Houston with Glenn Davis at bat, Tanner put on an exaggerated infield shift that left the right side of the infield open. Davis proceeded to slap a grounder through the gap for a RBI hit. An advance scout might have been able to tell Tanner that Cincinnati tried a similar shift on Davis earlier this season and abandoned it when Davis slapped two key hits through the vacated right side. Schmidt made public on his Philadelphia radio show Thursday what had been unconfirmed that Hayes had been benched last weekend for not running hard enough on a couple of balls. Baltimore's Jeff Stone drove to New Jersey last to pick up some videotapes of his hitting from three years ago. Then he proceeded to get six hits in his next three games. Stone has also been picked off base three times in the last week. Whitey Herzog thinks his Cards might have won three more games if lefthander Ken Dayley hadn't been sidelined. Included were two late-inning losses to the Mets in which Herzog had to use Todd Worrell in Dayley-type situations. Worrell has a 6.00 career ERA vs. New York. The Mets are quietly concerned about Kevin McReynolds, who is playing with a knee condition that could worsen at any time. And the Mets aren't the same without McReynolds. Remember how the Phils had some spring interest in shortstop Mariano Duncan? Well, he made seven errors in his first eight games in triple-A and is now disabled. By PETER PASCARELLI Knight-Ridder Newspapers Never has an April been more dominated by losers (Baltimore and Atlanta) than by winners. As a result, sources from several teams say that there could be some big-name players traded if several teams continue their early-seasoh foundering. Let's start in Baltimore, where sthat pathetic situation (the Orioles are 20-84 vs. ALEast teams since Sept. 21, 1986) could eventually mean that Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. may be traded. Already there have been whispers that Boston, worried about its lack of home-run punch with Jim Rice's continued decline, is interested in putting together a package for Ripken. Toronto, off to a so-so start and playing in the rugged AL East, could end up danglng people like Lloyd Moseby or Jesse Barfield in a shake-up trade. St. Louis has already dealt second baseman Tommy Herr, whose contract expires after this season, to Minnesota for outfielder Tom Brunansky. Herr probably will be replaced by prospect Luis Alicea. And a lot of people think it's only a matter of time before the Dodgers unload either Mike Marshall or Pedro Guerrero. You can also include the Phillies in this group. There seems every indication that should the Phils continue to languish below .500 well into May, there could be major changes. How major? Well, no one is saying. But this is a put-up-or-shut-up year for many parts of the Phils' foundation. The team has had a long untouchable list, odd since the Phils haven't been in a pennant race since 1984. Few of the Phils have been everyday contributors on contending clubs. Such key players as Von Hayes, Juan Samuel, Phil Bradley, Milt Thompson, Chris James, Shane Rawley, Kevin Gross, Bruce Ruffin and Don Carman have never been front-line players during a pennant race. So most of the foundation of this club has yet to prove it can be a factor in the NL East. If the Phillies continue to free fall into next month, that foundation could well be broken up. Mike Schmidt would remain untouchable as would Samuel, Steve Bedrosian, catcher Lance Parrish and probably pitchers such as Gross, Carman and Ruffin. However, all bets would be off on everyone else. In other words, if the Phils decide they need to make a blockbuster deal, names like Hayes and Rawley and Bradley and James could well be involved. If all that spells pressure, then so be it. For three years, opponents have marveled at how the Phillies seem to underachieve. The names they throw out there every day seem imposing. But, with their placid personality and iffy pitching, the Phils are very capable of some of aimless efforts. There comes a time with each team where a certain group of players whether through collective age or collective lack of success has taken things as far as possible. That's the kind of decision that could face Bill Giles and Woody Woodward this season. If the Phillies decide that this nucleus has had enough of a chance to be a winner, then the moves could go far beyond the usual midseason alterations. With Lee Smith a scourge in his early American League appearances, and Calvin Schiraldi and Al Nipper both winless entering the weekend, that offseason Cubs-Red Sox deal looks very lopsided. However, Cubs GM Jim Frey insists it's too early to judge. "We knew when we traded him that Smith would be a big help to Boston this year," said Frey. "This isn't a trade that we can judge in a couple of weeks. Schiraldi is the key and it might take him seven or eight starts or even most of the season to develop the consistency he needs to be the pitcher we think he can be." Schiraldi's problem is twofold. He has never got himself in excellent physical condition. Plus, he relies too much on his fastball, perhaps a throwback to his years as a reliever when he could afford to be a one-pitch pitcher. The Cubs want him to develop more .", ' -- . . V-Sif"' A'', 'S I 't, ' J M .A. V - v f .si- V I ...;" .A " ' i 4 1 iw; , ..-V -" '-'lv A-:-, A I ,(' " I ' 3 . , - Wl 1 I I t':-,sWiv- t . f t' ,,Jtl I II . ' C Cs - -1 ,...11. 1 - 'P-4 t '1 11 V V c - 1 11 ; "-.-": tv I ap nwf Are Braves choking? Chuck Tanner (left), Virgil seemingly put on demonstration IPon't expect rapid expansion CUT year, Boston 24-10 in '86, Toronto 26-21 in '85, and Detroit 25-11 in '84. "You don't get that two years in a row," says Anderson. The 1987 Red Sox were 18-21 in one-run games. How secure is Jimy Williams? After botching the George Bell-DH situation, painting himself into a corner, the nervous manager finally benched Sil Campusano, put Lloyd Moseby back in center and Bell back in left. Blue Jay ace Jimmy Key was told to merely rest his sore left elbow. The Jays are breathing a little easier. . . . Only Billy Martin could get into a verbal wrestling match with a player from another league. Billy didn't like Darryl Strawberry's criticism of his criticism of Rafael Santana and has already threatened to have his pitchers throw at Strawberry if the Yankees and Mets make it to the World Series. . . . Richard Dotson started against the Twins last Monday and gave up four runs, lasting only two innings. It didn't matter. Charles Hudson pitched seven innings of top long relief and the Yanks mashed 20 hits and scored 18 runs. Two nights later, Martin brought Dotson back for 2 2-3 innings of short relief in a 7-6 victory over the Twins. John Candelaria was warming up in the pen in the ninth Thursday. Think Billy might run these guys into the ground by August? . . . You gotta love that Claudell Washington. He hit the 10,000th homer in Yankee history Wednesday, but refused to send his bat and the ball to Coopers town. "They're mine," said Claudell. . . . Toronto reliever David Wells wants a piece of Yankee third baseman Mike Pagliarulo. "He's just a little weasel," said Wells. "What a baby." . . . Alan Trammell, on the perils of the AL East: "Last year we did it the hard way. We started out 11-19 and ended up winning. I wouldn't want to fall behind like that again. There's too many good teams in this division." Minnesota lefty relievers Steve Carlton and Tippy Martinez gave up 12 hits and 13 runs against the Yankess Monday. In one stretch of 4 2-3 innings, Carlton, Martinez and Joe Niekro gave up 20 hits and 19 earned runs. Martinez was released two days after the Yankee debacle. . . . Mention Texas hurler Bobby Witt and John McNamara gushes: "God, I'd love to have that guy. He's got an excellent arm." . . . The White Sox have signed an 18-year-old shortstop from Venezuela named Jorge Ramos. A generation ago, the White Sox had pretty good luck with a Venezuelan shortstop named Luis Aparicio. . . . Seattle players are not amused that a local paper has asked fans to send in suggestions for troubled pitcher Steve Trout. "The sports editor doesn't realize that we're talking about a man's life here," said Alvin Davis. . . . Dennis Eckersley had saves in his first seven opportunities. Eck's Oakland teammate Dave Stewart has four wins already, equaling his career April victory total. Calvin Schiraldi's second outing was worse than his first: 3 innings, 8 hits, 3 walks, a balk and 5 earned runs. Schiraldi was hooted from the mound after surrendering a prodigious (475 feet) home run to Barry Bonds leading off the fourth. The big righty was booed with great gusto and admitted, "I would've booed, too." Manager Don Zimmer, a man who knows something about getting booed, said, "It's natural because of the trade we made. It's not because he's Schiraldi. It's because we traded Lee Smith for two pitchers. The one pitcher ( Al Nipper) has started only one game because of off days, and Schiraldi hasn't done what we think he'll do. He can't let that bother him, because the minute he goes out there and pitches a four-hitter, they'll be on his side." Schiraldi's first three outings: 13 1-3 innings, 19 hits, 13 earned runs, 5 homers, 11 walks. Zimmer acknowledged, "Nobody wins with just one pitch." Zimmer met with his pitchers Wednesday (team ERA of 5.07) and told them to throw strikes. "Everybody's not Babe Ruth," reasoned Zim. . . . Twelve years after he arrived Baltimore from Nicaragua, Dennis Martinezrsa certified stopper for the Expos. Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Scott McGregor & Co. always said Dennis the Menace had the best arm of the lot, but it took him a long time and a lot of hardship to prove it. . . . Montreal star Tim Wallach on his ideal day: "At dawn, 18 holes with Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros at Augusta National. Then fly to the Kentucky Derby. Then get home in times for scores and highlights on ESPN." . . . Cincinnati manager Pete Rose sounded nothing at all like McNamara "when1 he told Sports Illustrated, "How can there be pressure when you're picked to win? Gobd athletes thrive on pressure. I lived with the pressure every bleeping day for 24 years. I loved it. So I'm not complaining about the pressure of being expected to win." By DAN SHAUGHNESSY Boston Globe Cities are lined up for major-league baseball games. They're building a stadium in St. Petersburg even though they have no team. Committees and politicians in Phoenix, Denver, Tampa, Washington, Buffalo, Indianapolis and Vancouver (to name a few) are lobbying for teams. Commissioner Peter Ueberroth favors expansion, and there's talk of four eight-team leagues. Don't hold your breath. A major-league owner who is familiar with expansion prospects doesn't see any new teams in the next two or three years. "The main question is talent," says the owner. "You're not doing these cities a favor if there's not a well-conceived plan. Have you ever seen pitching worse than it is now? What happens when you add six more clubs? "Orderly process is the key. Otherwise, you'll have cities paying a lot of money and building new stadiums, and the teams will be nightmares for the first generation and become eternal nightmares for the leagues." A expansion committee has been formed, and there has been one major joint meeting. "We understand supply and how to do what's best for the game," says the owner. "I don't think you'll see anything right away, because there should be a two- or three-year lead time. Most of these cities don't have stadiums. And you can't expand by one." Ignore the politicians. Baseball is not worried about losing its antitrust exemption, and members of the expansion committee won't be intimidated by vote-seeking pols from Arizona and Florida. Leave it to the estimable Leonard Koppett to remind us that a similar balk-mania bored baseball in 1963 when National League umps called 69 balks in the first 73 games. NL president Warren Giles had ordered umps to enforce a full one-second-stop rule, but the campaign was trashed after one month. . . . Sparky Anderson has a theory that explains the lack of dominant teams in the '80s: one-run games. "You look at every club in this division," he says. "The year they won it was one-run games." Detroit was 26-16 in one-runners last With this coupon 1 itn this coupon 550 ! 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