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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri • Page 16
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri • Page 16

St. Louis, Missouri
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4D SPORTS SI LOUIS POST-DISPATCH THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 1993 APR 1 1993 BASEBALL Accident Prompted Cards To Call Indians Joining Cleveland Gives Clark A Shot At Starting Rotation 00 I It I' AP Cardinals didn't want to move him. On Tuesday, Hart mentioned Clark's name again. Maxvill called Hart and said if the Indians had interest in Clark, he wanted to know right away because of the other deal pending. Hart said he did not want to move Whiten without another player coming with him. Young shortstop Juan Andujar, who played in Class eventually became the other player with Clark in the deal. The Cardinals increased their payroll for the second time in two months in making a trade. Whiten, signed to a two-year contract before the season, will make $500,000 this year and $1 million next year. Clark would have made the major-league minimum of $109,000 if he had made the club, which he probably wasn't going to do. In acquiring Gregg Jefferies from Kansas City for Felix Jose, the Cardinals increased their payroll by close to $1 million. The Whiten trade Is "close to a $500,000 investment to help our club," Maxvill said. "We think we have a chance to win the thing this year." Then he said, jokingly, "Who are those people who call us cheap?" Maxvill said the Cardinals felt Clark was not "what we thought he might be like." "But he's got good size and a big-league arm. And he'll get a chance to pitch in the big leagues. He wasn't going to get that chance right away here." where I can be a big part of their club for years to come." Unfortunate circumstances created a need for pitching in Cleveland. Relief pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews, both of whom figured prominently in the Indians' plans, were killed March 22 in a boating accident. Starting pitcher Bob Ojeda sustained serious injuries in the accident. The major-league opportunity notwithstanding, leaving the St. Louis organization is difficult for Clark. The Cardinals selected him in the ninth round of the 1988 amateur draft He had a disappointing spring last year but earned a promotion from Class AAA Louisville on June 1. He pitched a four-hit shutout against San Diego on July 6 and put together a string 17 scoreless innings. But Clark struggled over the final weeks of the season, losing seven of eight starts. He finished with a 3-10 record and a 4.45 earned-run average. Still, he made a bid to make the team this spring by pitching well in his last three outings. "It's hard," Clark said. "I've known nobody else but these guys. You make friends and you get comfortable. It's hard to leave that behind. But I know in my mind that this is a good opportunity for me. It's a new start." By Dan O'Neill Of the Post-Ditpatch Staff ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. The eyes were red, dazed, still disbelieving. But Mark Clark's mind was piecing together the news he'd just heard. He now is a member of the Cleveland Indians. "It's a shock," Clark said. "But it benefits me. I'm going to go over there and get an opportunity to be in the big leagues. I wouldn't have that opportu-nity here." The Cardinals sent Clark and minor-league infielder Juan Andujar to the Indians for outfielder Mark Whiten on Wednesday. Clark, who turns 25 on May 12, figured to be an odd man out in the Cardinals' pitching picture. Andujar, 21, batted .270 at Class A St. Petersburg last year. The Cardinals will start the regular season with 10 pitchers, meaning righthander Clark and lefthander Tom Urbani were not going to make the cut. Cardinals manager Joe Torre told Clark that Cleveland plans to use him as a starter. "I don't know what they have in mind," Clark said, "but I'll go there and work hard to make the most of it. "They're a young team, too, like this one. Hopefully, I'll be in a situation Mark Clark is shown making his debut with the Cardinals in September 1991, against the Mets. He was 3-10 last year. an area where we have some depth. "He wouldn't have had that opportunity here. Rene Arocha has looked good and is going to be in the rotation and we had to move Omar Olivares to the bullpen. That made it tough for Clark." Torre said Clark took the news of the trade relatively well. "He was upset, but once it sunk in that he was going to get a chance to pitch in the big leagues where he's going, he felt better," Torre said. "We wish him all the best. He's going to be a good pitcher. That just happens to be AROUND THE CAMPS Racism Protest Set For Orioles' Opening Day shouting match. "It just sounded like an auction to me," Clemens said. Pattonville High graduate Scott Cooper doubled in two runs for the Red Sox in the second inning, but the White Sox used five hits and Cooper's error to score four in the next half-inning. Cooper, a third baseman, has made seven errors this spring. Brewers: Milwaukee assigned veteran first baseman Larry Sheets to its minor-league camp, cutting its roster to 33. Sheets, who played last season in Japan, said he would return home and decide if he would accept the assignment. Sheets played previously with Baltimore and Detroit. He batted .279 in 23 exhibition games this spring. Marlins: Florida obtained a lefthanded hitter with home-run power for its bench by signing free agent Greg Briley, an infielder-outfielder who spent the past four seasons with the Seattle Mariners. Briley signed a one-year contract. Briley hit .275 in 66 games with the Mariners last season and led the American League with two pinch-hit home runs. He has 26 homers in 478 career at-bats. Rangers: Benji Gil made the big leap from Class A ball to the major leagues in a single bound. Gil, 20, will be the opening day shortstop for Texas when it begins the season Monday against the Orioles in Baltimore. That became certain when the Rangers placed shortstop Manuel Lee on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 27. Lee has been sidelined with a pulled muscle in the side of his rib cage. Gil, the Rangers' first-round selection in the June '91 draft, has two professional seasons under his belt, although none above Class A. He played 32 games with Butte of the Pioneer League the year he was drafted and hit .287 with two home runs and 15 runs batted in. Last year, he was at Gastonia of the South Atlantic League, where he batted .274 with nine homers and 55 RBIs. with Baltimore in February, then pitched 14 scoreless innings to solidify his bid to return to the majors after a one-year absence. The Orioles do not plan to offer him his $250,000 major-league contract until Sunday, so he still is not officially part of the club. But Oates is already making plans. He said that until the team needs a fifth starter, lefthander Valenzuela will pitch out of the bullpen. Twins: Minnesota released pitcher Bert Blyle-ven, and it appears he will end his 23-year career without reaching the 300-victory mark. He is 13 wins from the milestone. "I still, deep down, think that I can pitch at the major-league level," he said. "But if I can't pitch for the Minnesota Twins, then I don't want to pitch for anybody. I've heard people say the Florida Marlins are interested. Well, there are kids there that have the dream of pitching in the majors and why should some 42-year-old guy who hasn't been in camp with them come in and take their spot?" Blyleven, a righthander who has a 287-250 career record and a 3.31 earned-run average, was trying to make the team as a non-roster player after being released by California. He suffered a torn rotator cuff in 1990 and missed all of 1991 before coming back in 1992, when he went 8-12 for the Angels. He ranks third in the majors with 3,701 career strikeouts, eighth with 685 starts, ninth with 60 shutouts and 13th with 4,970 y3 innings. Blyleven had a rough spring and finished with a 6.27 ERA. Red Sox: Boston lost to the Chicago White Sox 5-4 in a game that featured a verbal confrontation between George Bell and Tony Pena in Fort Myers. Chicago scored four runs in the third inning and then held on to win. Both dugouts emptied after Bell and Pena had a heated conversation as Bell came up to bat in the fifth inning. Players and coaches quickly stepped between the two, and no punches were thrown. Roger Clemens, who struck out Bell after the incident, said he didn't know what led to the By The Associated Press BALTIMORE Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson says he's not picking on the Baltimore Orioles, but he doesn't mind making an example of them. Jackson announced Wednesday that a protest on the Baltimore Orioles' opening day at Camden Yards will kick off a nationwide campaign to change major-league baseball's hiring practices. He urged local ministers to organize bus caravans to transport at least 1,000 people to the demonstration. Jackson decried the "institutional racism" that keeps blacks on the playing fields and out of front offices. He also attacked major-league baseball's plan to hire more minorities as "unacceptable and deceptive." "Baseball's plan is like driving uphill with your brakes on," Jackson said at a stadium news conference. "Baseball leaves us no alternative but to launch a campaign." Jackson, president and founder of the National Rainbow Coalition, came armed with data collected by the Rainbow Commission for Fairness in Athletics. The commission was formed in December after racist comments by Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott caused a public outcry. Flanked by representatives from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Baltimore Urban League, Jackson said that whites hold 93 percent of the Orioles' front office "power positions." He cited other figures: whites comprise 77 percent of the Orioles' managers, coaches and scouts, compared with 15 percent for blacks; whites hold all the team's administrative positions; 66 percent of the team's players are white and 17 percent black. Orioles: Fernando Valenzuela's place on Baltimore's opening day roster became a virtual certainty when Orioles manager Johnny Oates put pitcher Anthony Telford on waivers and sent reliever Brad Pennington to the minors, leaving a 10-man staff. Valenzuela, 32, signed a minor-league contract By Rick Hummel Of the Post-Dispatch Staff ST. PETERSBURG. Fla. The Cardinals' trade for Cleveland outfielder Mark Whiten was one of two they tried to make Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the Cardinals were in contact with the Atlanta Braves, apparently about outfielder Keith Mitchell, whom the Braves planned to send to the minors. But after the Cardinals made the Whiten trade, they stopped pursuing Mitchell, who didn't provide the speed element off the bench the Cardinals wanted. General manager Dal Maxvill said the Indians had asked at the winter meetings in December about pitcher Mark Clark, whom they acquired for Whiten. The Indians also asked about several other pitchers at that time. That interest was rekindled last week after a boating accident killed pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews and injured lefthander Bob Ojeda. Before Wednesday, Maxvill said, he'd had four or five conversations with Indians general manager John Hart since the winter meetings. Maxvill called Hart after the boating accident. "I said we still had interest in improving our speed and our bench. He said, 'We really need pitching I said, 'Which one of our pitchers are you interested in?" And he said, 'Anybody Maxvill said Hart asked first about Rene Arocha and Maxvill told him the CARDINALS Arocha Ripped, But Remains In Rotation By Dan O'Neill Of the Post-Dispatch Staff ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. The Cardinals made one change in their pitching puzzle by trading righthander Mark Clark to Cleveland on Wednesday. But some things remain the same. One of those things is the presence of righthander Rene Arocha in the starting rotation. On Wednesday, Arocha made his second start since trading places with Omar Olivares and the Cardinals finished off their spring training home schedule with a 5-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Al Lang Stadium. Arocha's numbers were less than dramatic. He hurled six innings, gave up 10 hits and four runs, three earned. But the powers that be saw nothing to discourage them from keeping the Arocha-Olivares switch as stands. "He made one mistake, to Mark Parent, and I think he was running out of gas, but other than that, he was fine," pitching coach Joe Coleman said. "He was stretching it a little farther than he is used to. He threw 93 pitches, and that's still more than he's used to throwing." Arocha gave up an unearned run in the third but carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth. A run-scoring double by Gregg Jefferies and sacrifice fly by Todd Zeile had given the Cardinals the lead in the fourth. But Parent yanked a misplaced Arocha fastball over the left-field wall for a three-run homer in the sixth. "That's not a good pitch to Parent," manager Joe Torre said. "But he was getting a little frustrated because he couldn't throw his sinker for strikes. "He made some bad location pitches, but I thought he threw the ball well. He's in the rotation as far as right now." Coleman said Olivares, now in the bullpen, will be hard-pressed to get his job back from Arocha. "Arocha is definitely in the mix, unless Omar can win it back," Cole- Fisher From page one asked his wife was about that night's Michigan game. The satellite dish he watched the games on had become a life-support system. "That kept my husband alive for about another year," Louise Fisher said Wednesday. It is enough for Steve Fisher, 48, just to be a coach, even it he is an overlooked one. He can joke about his anonymity, or that there are asterisks next to his other Final Four marches: In 1989, for inheriting an abundantly talented team from banished Bill Frieder and lurking in the background as it won six successive games and a national championship. Last season, for twiddling his thumbs as a team with five freshman starters, with no guidance, reached the national championship game. "In '89, 1 was like our freshmen last year a novelty act. I was just a lucky guy hanging onto former Michigan star Glen Rice's coat tail," said Fisher, 98-36 overall. "But that doesn't bother me. If I'm around at Michigan long enough, and we continue to have success, the ripple effect will rub off on me." If Fisher isn't chagrined by the way he and Michigan are perceived, there are others who are. Count among them coach Rick Pitino of Kentucky, Michigan's opponent in Saturday's national semifinal game. "I think he's a remarkable man, and a remarkable coach," Pitino said. C'mon, Rick, anybody could do what he has with that talent. NOTEBOOK Wendy FitzgeraldPost-Dispatch Rene Arocha gives up 10 hits and three earned runs in six innings as the Cardinals lose. mans said. "But the only way Omar's going to do that is if Arocha doesn't get better, and I think he will." Outfielder Brian Jordan played for the second day in succession' Wednesday, going 0 for three. He is still battling the effects of the flu. "I still don't feel great," he said. "I have to get my endurance back." In a scene familiar from last season, the Cardinals were victimized by faulty baserunning as they tried to get back in the game in the sixth. Stan Royer walked and Ray Lank-ford singled to send Royer to third. But Lankford was out stealing. "That's something we can't afford to do and he knows that," Torre said. "He's so quick, buUhe other team knows he's so quick. They pay very close attention to him." Jefferies suffered a slight strain to his hamstring fielding a ground ball on the first play of the game. Jefferies managed to get in his RBI double and has driven in 10 runs in the Cardinals' last four games. He was replaced later by Royer and will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Earlier this spring, Jefferies suffered a strained right hamstring and missed several games. The Cardinals, who were 16-13-1 last spring, fell to 10-14 this season. "I've said this all along: I think he's one of the few coaches in the business who could do what he has," Pitino said. "I could not have coached five freshmen like he did. He has the patience of a saint. "There's no way possible I could have done that Freshmen are very immature, they think of themselves, they don't understand the team concept." But Fisher still can't discipline "Watch tapes with me, and I'll show you one of the more defensively disciplined teams in America," Pitino said. Then, ahem, what about the trash-talking? "When I hear this nonsense about the talking, it's just so silly," Pitino said. "These kids don't do a quarter of what the professional players do. They're just having fun. I recruited a lot of these young men, they're terrific people, respectful." Steve? "Our kids are no different than Kentucky's, North Carolina's or Kansas'," Fisher said. "They play basketball." He called trash-talk accusations "much to-do about nothing." Or much ado, as has been made about Michigan all season. "We are a team that has been way too much promoted not from our choosing, but it comes with the territory," Fisher said. "Last year, it was 'Let's see if you're as good as people "This year, it was, 'If they don't get back to the Final Four it'll be because they've gotten the fat head or Or aren't well-coached by the man who at least has a job he loves. Cards From page one season for a .089 average the lowest in the American League. For his career, Whiten is 10 for 98 in two-out, run-scoring situations. By contrast, Gilkey was 16 for 45 SLU From page one and make them work hard; I yelled. But you don't want to do it to the point where you beat people down." From the beginning, the Bills responded to Spoonhour's touch. They actually led by 12 points during the first half at UCLA in the preseason National Invitation Tournament before losing. Considering that SLU lost four games by fewer than four points, three others by fewer than nine, and trailed by just a few points in the closing minutes two other times, the Billikens fell just a few late-game rallies short of a potential berth in the postseason NIT. For a team that won only 12 games, the Billikens managed several high points: the December victory over Southern Cal before a raucous home crowd, two close regular-season losses each to Marquette and Memphis State, the end of a 23-game road losing streak (at Dayton), the end of the conference losing streak (against De-Paul), an overtime triumph over Southern Illinois-Carbondale, a victory over Marquette in the first round of the conference tournament, a battle before losing to Memphis State in that next game Of course, a team that loses 17 games hit a lot of bumps. Two ugly losses to Cincinnati and Alabama-Birmingham, two losses to Southern with two outs and runners in scoring position. His .356 average in that situation was the third highest in the league. Gilkey batted .302 overall with seven homers and 43 runs batted in. He had 18 stolen bases. Whiten's strikeout total probably troubles Torre, too. He fanned 102 times in 508 at-bats last season. But he walked 72 times and had a .347 on-base average. Methodist that the Bills thought they should have won, disheartening road losses to South Alabama and Arkansas State marked a team that lacked experience, depth and overall talent. Did the season fulfill Spoonhour's hopes? Not his wildest hopes. But the Bills more than satisfied his realistic expectations. "When I started the year, I hoped for a positive relationship with the team, that they would work hard, that I'd be comfortable with them," he said. "But with this league and non-conference schedule, it's tough to put good numbers up. It's difficult to win in any Division I conference without a mature basketball team." The Billikens impressed opponents with some of the Great Midwest's top young talent. Sophomore Erwin Clag-gett, an all-conference first-teamer, finished second to Memphis State's Anfernee Hardaway in scoring. Junior Donnie Dobbs, on the all-newcomer team, baffled onlookers with his ability to score and rebound against much-bigger opponents. Sophomore Scott Highmark kept scoring and played through dozens of injuries. "I'd like to have somebody work harder than him; they'd have to bring their lunch, because they'd be working overtime," Spoonhour said. Freshman Carlos McCauley stepped into the starting point guard spot right away. He guarded UCLA's Tyus Ed-ney, one of the nation's quickest guards, in the first game; he guarded Hardaway, maybe the nation's best player, in the last. "He did pretty well against both, and he did very well in est, but he stole 119 bases in 569 minor-league games. He swiped 49 bases for Myrtle Beach in 1987. The player who doesn't start in the outfield on a given day will give the Cardinals more speed off the bench. "It definitely improves our bench, no matter who is starting," Torre said. "That's an ingredient we felt we had to have." SLU Statistics FQ FTRbs PtsAvg. Claggett 28 187 107 107 552 19.7 Dobbs 29 197 101 188 501 17.3 Highmark 29 155 97 123 465 16.0 Pedersen 29 70 27 129 168 5.8 Smith 29 41 18 69 100 3.4 McCauley 29 32 20 57 87 3.0 Jones, M. 24 17 21 22 66 2.8 Bickel .23 16 16 34 48 2.1 Jones, E. 29 9 12 39 30 1.0 Falb 3 1 0 3 2 0.7 Grant 1 0 0 2 0 0.0 Assists: Claggett 105, McCauley 83, Dobbs 73, Highmark 71, M. Jones 51, Pedersen 26, Smith 12, Bickel 6, E. Jones 6, Grant 1 3-point Held goats: Claggett 71, Highmark 58. M. Jones 1 1 Dobbs 6, McCauley 3, Pedersen 1. my worst dream. But that was the main attraction of being here at SLU, being in a league like this. Here we went 1-9 and I really like the league. Figure out that mentality." If Spoonhour got anything out of this season and he gained enough to reaffirm that he made the right decision in coming to St. Louis it is optimism about the Billikens' future. "Right now, we're one of the bottom two or three teams in the league," Spoonhour said. "But the nucleus is there, the capability to catch up and get in the middle. And if you're in the middle of this league, you're all right. "Even if we didn't add a single good recruit to the team, if we go with what we have right now, the nucleus to be that good is there." "I don't know a lot about him," Torre said. "I think he has a little more power for the left side and is probably a better average hitter from the right side. "I do know he's an outstanding defensive players. That's important. This club has to win with defense." Speed is another dimension the club hopes to address with the trade. Whiten's major-league numbers are mod- between," Spoonhour said. The Billikens' greatest need turned out to be big men. Junior Evan Peder-sen (6-8) started slowly, as expected, after a two-year hiatus from the game. But his work ethic pushed him into the starting lineup, and he showed a coming shooting touch by season's end. Sophomore Brian Smith (6-9) never showed the desired rebounding aggression and since has left the program. Sophomore Eric Bickel (6-10) didn't figure into the plan much in the season's first half but worked into a key reserve role by the end. Sophomore forward Eric Jones and senior point guard Marcus Jones fit right into Spoonhour's system as dependable reserves. "Eric pushed Scott in practice, and I'm as proud of Marcus as I can be," Spoonhour said. "Any time a guy is a senior, he'd like to feel like the job is his. Marcus never had that luxury. But he worked so hard and gave us great senior leadership, never complained. "And after the first part of the season, Marcus almost never turned the ball over." In many ways, Marcus Jones' season sums up the Billikens' first season under Spoonhour overmatched, never gave up, impressed others not by doing great things, rather by not making many mistakes. And they had fun when they could have been complaining. How did Spoonhour enjoy his first season in the Great Midwest, considered one of the nation's "power conferences?" "No surprises," he said. "It fulfilled

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