The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 30, 1991 · Page 64
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 64

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Sunday, June 30, 1991
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D4 The Pittsburgh Press Sunday, June 30, 1991 BASEBALL ID)nsIini Mm Pirates give Barger a deadline on Miami ONTREAL The Pirates' Board of Directors is believed to have given i President Carl Barger a deadline, be lieved to be within the next couple of weeks, to decide if he wishes to remain with the Pirates or take a position running the expansion Miami franchise. Barger, seldom without an answer, offered a "No comment" when asked to confirm or deny the report Barger has been the Pirates' president since replacing Mac Prine, who lost the job in a power struggle with then-general manager Syd- Thrift Dec. 2, 1987. Barger has a close friendship with Wayne Huizenga, owner of the Miami franchise and would have a freer hand in running the Miami team than he has here under the setup that has Doug Danforth and the Board of Directors over him. Walking and talking softly Barger has gone on record as being opposed to one facet of the rules for protecting players in baseball's expansion draft, which will be held in November 1992. As the rules are set up, a club can protect 15 players. However, a player signed out of high school in the past four years or a player signed out of college in the past three years gets an automatic exemption, keeping a large pool of young talent away from the expansion franchises. Barger believes it is in the best interest of baseball to see that the expansion teams are competitively viable and thinks one way is to keep them out of the free agent market To do this he would make the talent available to them. "Think of it this way. If they are really bad, how many people will they be able to draw when they come to Pittsburgh? It is in our interest to make them as attractive as possible." However, with his interest in possibly running one of the expansion franchises, Barger has not openly pushed for this change for fear it could be construed a conflict of interests. This week's quiz When Lenny Dykstra started in center field for,, the National League in last year's All-Star game he became the third Philadelphia Phillie to be so honored. Name the other two Phillies who started in center field for the NL. (Answer at the end.) Bob Hertzel Baseball Runaway winners The San Diego Padres' Tony Gwynn is running away with the National League batting race, holding a lead of 27 points over the St Louis Cardinals' Felix Jose. Winning a batting title by a large margin is nothing new to Gwynn. In 1987 he won by 32 points, hitting .370 to the .338 by runner-up Pedro Guerrero. In 1984 he won by 30 points, hitting .351 to Lee Lacs .321. If Gwynn could increase his lead to 40 points or more he would be the eighth man to win a batting title by 40 or more points. Here are the largest margins of victory: Tr. Winner '01 Nap Lajoie '77 Rod Carew '24 Rogers Hornsby '74 Rod Carew '41 Ted Williams '22 Rogers Hornsby "73 Rod Carew 47 Harry Walker '21 Rogers Hornsby '48 Stan Musial '70 Rico Carty Rnnner-np .422 Bill Freeman .388 Lyman Bostock .424 Zack Wheat ,364 Jorge Orta ,406 Cecil Travis ,401 Roger Grimes ,350 Tommy Davis George Scott 363 Bob Elliott 397 Edd Roush 376 Richie Ashburn 366 Joe Torre .345 .336 .375 .316 .359 .354 .306 .317 .352 .333 .325 Dirr. 77 52 49 48 47 47 44 46 45 43 41 The figures make you appreciate how much better than their contemporaries Carew and Hornsby were, each appearing on the list three times. Ty Cobb never won a batting title by more than 40 points, but he did win four times by more than 30. Tough trip Talk about tough road trips. How about the one the Chicago Cubs just ended. It was their family trip, and their wives and children accompanied them to the West Coast, where they won their first game, then lost the next nine. Heading back east, they dropped off the families, arrived in Pittsburgh and ended the losing streak, then blew a ninth-inning lead on Thursday to make it 11 losses in 13 games. That would have been bad enough, but on the way out of town their equipment bus broke down three-quarters of the way to the airport They did not take off until nearly 2 a.m. Stat of the week Who is the Pirates' best clutch hitter? Hard question to answer, but one way to look at it is to see which Pirate has driven in the most runs that have tied a game or given the club the lead. Here are those rankings: Barry Bonds 15; Bobby Bonilla 12; Andy Van Slyke 10; Jeff King, Jose Lind, Orlando Merced 5; Don Slaught and Gary Varsho 4; Mike LaValliere, Curtis Wilkerson, Zane Smith and Mitch Webster 3; Gary Redus 2; Jay Bell, Lloyd McClendon and Randy Tomlin 1. Weird inning The Phillies' pitching staff leads the majors in walks, but outdid itself against St Louis Tuesday. After eight Cardinals went to the plate they had no official at-bats and led, 3-0. Pat Combs walked the first three, gave up a sacrifice fly, then two walks, forcing home a run. He threw 25 pitches, just five strikes. Bruce Ruffin relieved, gave up a sacrifice fly and intentionally walked Jose Oquendo to load the bases. Pitcher Bryn Smith got a hit and the Cardinals had five runs on one hit Touching the bases Cardinals left-hander Juan Agosto is on pace to pitch 106 games this year. The question is: Why would anyone want him to? The league is hitting .309 against him. The Cardinals' Craig Wilson is 6 for 14 as a pinch hitter and 1 for 27 otherwise. Former Pirates first baseman Sid Bream, now with the Atlanta Braves, reinjured his right knee last week. He had arthroscopic surgery Friday and will be our four to six weeks. The Los Angeles Dodgers' pitching staff had 22 consecutive starts in which the starter went six or more innings until Orel Hershiser left in the fifth inning on Tuesday. Anyone who thought St. Louis and Atlanta were going to crack, take another look at the standings. As July crawls upon us, they remain in contention. The Toronto Blue Jays have stolen third base 13 times in 13 attempts. Quiz answer Richie Ashburn in 1948 and 1951 and Harry "The Hat" Walker, a former Pirates manager, in 1947. Pirates farm report (Through Thursday's games) Buffalo American Association (AAA) First-place Buffalo (37-33) leads Indianapolis (39-36) by a ' half-game in the Eastern Division . . . Infielder John Wehner of Carrick has a .340 average (18 for 53) and seven RBI in 15 games since his promotion from Carolina . . . Shortstop Carlos Garcia (.244) has a team-high 34 RBI . . . First baseman Joey Meyer leads with 69 hits and five home runs . . . Outfielder Jeff Schulz is hitting .314 .. . Catcher Tom Prince (. 1 76) has thrown out 1 7 of 34 runners attempting to steal and picked off seven . . . Outfielder Cecil Espy (.269) has team highs of 36 runs, seven triples and 13 stolen bases ... Catcher Jeff Banister has a .297 average . . . Roger Mason is 7-1 with a 1.94 ERA . . . Rick Reed (6-3, 2.09) has ' 53 strikeouts in 82 innings . . . Joe Ansanio (2-2, 3.86) was placed on disabled list Monday because of dizzy spells and Bias Minor (2-2, 6.06) was activated . . . Jeff Neely (2-3, 1.86) and Rosario Rodriguez (3-3, 3.34) each have six saves. Carolina Southern League (AA) The Mudcats (2-2 in the second half) and three other teams are tied for second place in the Eastern Division, IV2 games , behind Orlando (3-0) . . . Infielder Terry Crowley (.245) and outfielder Darwin Pennye (.268) each have 63 hits . . . First baseman Greg Sparks (.273) leads with five home runs and 35 RBI . . . Outfielder Eddie Zambrano (.238) has 14 doubles . . . Paul Miller is 6-2 with a 2.77 ERA . . . Victor - Cole (0-0, 1.08) has 10 saves in 15 appearances . . . Tim Wakefield (7-6, 3.38) has 61 strikeouts in 96 innings . . . . Dennis Tafoya (1-1, 0.98) has five saves. Salem Carolina League (A) r The Buccaneers (5-2 in the second half) lead the Northern Division . . . First baseman Ben Shelton (.261) leads the : league with 14 home runs and 56 RBI . . . Outfielder Paul List is hitting .309 . . . Outfielder Daryl Ratliff (.297) has ; team highs of 79 hits and 48 runs and leads the league with 27 ; stolen bases . . . Outfielder Ken Trusky of Swissvale has a ; .2 18 average. . .Outfielder Alberto delos Santos (.294) and outfielder William Pennyfeatber (.268) each have 12 doubles ', . . . Tim McDowell of Monroeville and Paul Wagner each f have 60 strikeouts and three complete games. McDowell is 3-j 5 with a 5.07 ERA and Wagner is 7-3 with a 3.39 ERA . . . Mike Zimmerman (2-0, 3.05) has seven saves and David '; Tellers (5-2, 1.50) has six ... ' Augusta South Atlantic League (A) The Pirates (0-2 in the second half) are in last place in the I Southern Division, two games behind first-place Charleston, S.C. (2-0) . . . Outfielder Scott Bullett (.290) leads with 80 hits, 47 runs, 15 doubles and 35 stolen bases . . . Infielder Joseph Sondrinl is hitting .296 . . . Outfielder Pasqaale Arace (.262) has a team-high 31 RBI . . . First baseman : Genaro Campusano (.246) has eight home runs . . . Shortstop Ramon Martinez (.250) has 22 errors . . . Bobby Hunter is 7-' 1 with a 4.93 ERA . . . Kurt Miller (3-5, 2.76) has 81 ? strikeouts in 78V3 innings . . . Brian Shouse (1-3, 3.47) has u, seven saves. Wetland New York-Penn League (A) Welland (7-4) is tied with Hamilton (7-4) for second place ",. in the Stedler Division, one game behind Jamestown (9-2) . . . First baseman-outfielder Todd Schroeder (.333), shortstop Chuck Tooch (.323), catcher Angelo Encarnacion (.300) and outfielder James Cardona (.286) are the leading hitters . . . John Douris is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA . . . John Hope is 1-0 -with a 0.75 ERA. :rr" Bradenton Gulf Coast League (Rookie) ! The last-place Pirates ( 1 -7) are five games behind the first- place Braves (6-2) in the Central Division . . . Infielder Angel COIOn nas a .OUO tivciago . . . uuuicmci ihv Hvjn auii shortstop Joan San tana each have four RBI . . . Matt Pontbriant (0-1, 0.90) has 10 strikeouts in 10 innings. Geibel's Lonigro hopes chances expand in 1993 By Ken Mrazik The Pittsburgh Press Greg Lonigro, a 1984 graduate of Geibel High School in Connellsville, said he is not progressing in the minor leagues as quickly as he expected. Lonigro, 25, is an infielder with the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Cincinnati Reds' affiliate in the Class AA Southern League. It is his sixth season in the minors , but he realizes it could be worth the wait. He is one of many minor-leaguers who could benefit by the expansion of major-league baseball in 1993, "A lot of guys in my position are waiting for expansion because of the domino effect. It's going to be a plus for guys who are on the borderline as far as age." Lonigro was Cincinnati's No. 1 choice in the secondary phase of the June 1986 draft. Through Thursday he was hitting .256 with 64 hits in 250 at-bats. He had 14 doubles, two home runs, 27 RBI, six walks and 30 strikeouts. "We're not afraid to send runners when he is at bat because his chances of making contact are very good," Chattanooga Manager Jim Tracy said. "What you see with him is gradual improvement every year. "He is a very sound defensive player and came out of spring training as our No. 1 shortstop because of the job he did there last season. He can play any of three, infield positions, which really increases his stock." Lonigro hit .274 in his rookie season at Billings (Mont.). His best season was in 1988, when he had a .283 average and scored 77 runs for MINOR-LEAGUE SPOTLIGHT Class A Cedar Rapids (Iowa). His average dropped drastically (.224 at Cedar Rapids and .220 at Chattanooga) in 1989, but shot to .256 last season, when he had career highs of 38 RBI and sue home runs at Chattanooga. "I feel he is a much improved offensive player due to the fact he spent the entire fall in the instructional league," Tracy said. "Mechanically he had to make a couple of adjustments. He needed to get his hips involved more in his swing and improve his discipline in the strike zone. What he needs to do is continue to play every day on a regular basis." "I've learned a lot of little things that I wish I knew when I was younger," Lonigro said, "but I feel comfortable with my ability and my chances of making it in the big leagues. I just hope I can take advantage of it when I get my shot." Howie Bedell, Cincinnati's director of player development, said Lonigro's versatility will increase his chances of making it. "People that can play multi-positions will have a greater opportunity than those who can't. There was some question whether he could play different positions, but I think he has shown he can. Now it's a matter of being consistent at each position as well as making the kind of contact he needs to create a winning scenario." 4TH of JULY FIRECRACKER GOLF and Hfli JT TENUIS PH EXPIRES THRU 7791 mi ftCoit liywfiy Phi) Iradtlu Golf League Discount ALL uULr BAGS... 15-40 off! rro ci itc vi n iwrruiKAkii i nnicRAiic I 15 BALL GOLF PAC $190 LIMIT I t 1 DZ. IJ'if pm mV I.J.I h WAOVf HTlSEMtNT ONLY 7 nam I GOLF MIL RETRIEVERS I 9 W ADVERTISEMENT ONLY 4 WELCOME HOME TB0OK1NDYOU1 POLICE & FICE DEPARTMENTS WE'RE PROUD OF YOU! RECEIVE ADDITIONAL 5 OFF YOUR NEXT PURCHASE AN OFF KIM ID RtQUIMD jam WE m GOLF & TENNIS LOCKER I BAGS ALL MODELS I 25 OFF ! W ADVERTISEMENT ONLY DUN10P DDK III GOLF BALLS 1 5 BALL PACK I EAST MUtmviUE 457IWM.PENNHWY. SOUTH BRENTWOOD-WHITEHAU 3 Ml. NORTH Of CENTURY III MAU roi .fitooi.r.cc NORTH WEXFORD 10441 PERRY HWY. ACROSS FROM BAIERl CHEVY tin i- Intelligence plus , great talent equal a great pitcher By Bob Hertzel The Pittsburgh Press . MONTREAL You look at them and on the surface they seem so different. Bob Gibson with his hard stare and harder slider, Catfish Hunter with his guile; Juan Marichal with his high leg kick and Roger Clemens with his " heat. Great pitchers, each individ-, ualized to the point that no one could copy him. Yet there must be a common thread that runs between all great pitchers, one characteristic that binds them together. Ray Miller, the Pirates' pitching coach, has been observing pitchers since he became a minor-league coach iri 1974. He has handled Cy Young Award winners in Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan Steve Stone and Doug Drabek. . He said he has noted one similarity in the great pitchers. "Intelligence." In baseball they talk about many traits. How fast a player runs, how hard he throws, his power, his height and weight. But seldom do you hear anything about the brain power necessary to succeed in the major leagues. "I have never had a good starting pitcher who was dumb," said Miller. Miller defined intelligence in a starting pitcher as the ability to adjust. "When you match Doug Drabek and Tony Gwynn for the 60th time, Doug can't throw him anything he hasn't seen. It's how he adjusts, how he sets up the pitches he throws. The game ends up like a high-level chess match." Constant adjustments are forever being made in baseball. "I keep hearing about how the hitter has to adjust," said Miller. "Well, the pitcher has to adjust to 15 different batters on each team. The batter has to adjust to one pitcher." An example can be seen in the struggles left-hander Zane Smith had recently. His stuff is the same as last year when he was getting batters out consistently, but something has gone amiss. "You haven't learned how to pitch until you know what a guy is looking tor, give it to him but change it just enough so that he can't hit it," said Miller. , Miller points to Drabek, who has learned how to change speeds on his slider, throwing what he calls a "Frisbee" slider Next game Today, 1:35 p.m., John Smiley (8-5) for the Pirates vs. Dennis Martinez (9-4) for the Montreal Expos (Channel 2). when he believes the hitter is looking for that pitch. This one has a bigger break and carries out of the strike zone. The constant changing is brought about by many things. Hitters work on weaknesses until they overcome them and turn them into strengths. A pitcher must notice this happening and attack a differ- ent way. But the pitcher can't get "too smart." Miller said he has seen intelligent pitchers such as Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Expos make pitching too much of a mental exercise. He had Martinez as a young pitcher in Baltimore. "Some guys try to be so , perfect with all four of their pitches that they don't know what to throw. Dennis would try to throw all four pitches to ; every hitter. We couldn't get him to double up." In those days Miller had ..: doubts about Martinez' intelli- . gence, but it turned out to be . nothing more than a problem in communication that was overcome as Martinez went on to win 20 games for Miller and is one of the National League's top pitchers. Intelligence must be accompanied by control unless the pitcher possesses a Nolan Ryan fastball. The .question . , becomes how good is a major-' ' leaguer's control? , Miller said that in the first ,. . half of the season a pitcher's . control normally is not sharp, but that as the season wears on he gets to the point where the a ball generally goes where he ;r s wants it. . , . . It seems difficult to believe ' pitchers can hit a spot with a ' baseball that breaks 6 inches and travels 87 mph, but Miller said they can. "It's like a professional golf- , er. You see him hit a ball and fade it around a tree, into a . wind and have it roll across a green that breaks ' sharply to the left and come within 3 feet of the hole." If they can do that, surely ' veteran pitchers who are big winners can spot their pitches. ; From s) AE ONE YEAR MUFFLER Most cars and light trucks. See manager for details on one year limited guaranteed muffler. From 95 LIFETIME MUFFLER Most cars and light trucks. Lifetime mufflers are guaranteed for as long as you own your vehicle. Installation included. 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