The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California on May 15, 1993 · Page 29
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The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California · Page 29

San Bernardino, California
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 15, 1993
Page 29
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C4 BASEBALL The Sun SATURDAY, May 15, 1993 Gruber pleased about playing again, even in Single-A By Bill Plunkett Gannett News Service ANAHEIM Kelly Gruber will go from the World Series to Single-A and he's looking forward to it. Gruber will begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Palm Springs Angels Monday against Rancho Cucamonga. It will be the third baseman's first game action since the 1992 World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays. "I'm ready to get going," Gruber said Friday. "It's been pretty tough, very frustrating just sitting and watching. But, it's what I had to do." Davis going back to his old habit By Steve Dilbeck Sun Sports Writer HOUSTON Eric Davis, mired in a deep slump and with speculation growing the Dodgers may be running out of patience with his comeback, made his own career decision. Unlike teammate and close friend Darryl Strawberry, who decided during Thursday's off-day he needed to concentrate on strengthening his back, Davis will not be going on the disabled list. Davis, though, has made what he hopes will prove a significant decision of his own from now on, he is going to swing the bat the way he always has, the way that feels natural to him. "I was swinging the way everybody else wanted me to swing instead of the way I know how to swing," Davis said. "It's not to say the help they were giving me wasn't well intended that's why I tried to do it. It just put me in a rut." Davis is hitting just .216, is in a 2-for-24 slump and has just three extra-base hits in 111 at-bats. He is not driving the ball, not looking anything like the guy some felt was the game's best all-around player a few years ago. For five seasons, Davis averaged 30 home runs per year. But this season coming off wrist and shoulder surgeries Davis has been unable to get untracked. So during Thursday's optional workout, he met with manager Tommy Lasorda and hitting coach Ben Hines, thanked them for their help they tried to eliminate a hitch with his hands but said from this point he wanted to swing his way. "I have to do what I have to do," Davis said. "If I didn't want to win, if I had an egu, I wouldn't have listened to what they wanted me to do. But I just can't swing the way they want me to. That's just not my swing." CLAIRE MUM ON DAVIS: In what is his typical fashion, general manager Fred Claire is not commenting on how long he's committed to waiting for the struggling Davis to break out of his slump. The no comment is seen by some as something less than an endorsement. Davis, who's been kept out the past two games, is getting a guaranteed $1 million, plus an additional $5,400 every day during the season he is on the active roster. How long will the Dodgers wait? "I don't set timetables," Claire said. "Just because I refuse to set a time frame, someone drawing their own conclusion is out of my control." Davis has played well on the field and is 12-for-12 in stolen bases, but the Dodgers were counting on him for power. Claire said Davis' contract is not a factor. "Our consideration is for the evaluation of talent," Claire said. "I talked to him (last weekend) in San Francisco and told him I recognized what he was going through and thought he was handling it well. He's going through some hard times, yet he's busting his butt." Claire was angry over a Los Angeles Daily News headline that said Davis was brooding, the story did not: "That headline was untrue, uncalled for and irresponsible. It's tough enough for him to go through this." ELSTERDEADLINETONIGHT: Claire said though shortstop Kevin Elster would have until Monday to accept a possible extension of his minor-league contract, the Dodgers must make a decision by midnight tonight whether to place him on the major-league roster. Elster has been on a rehab assignment for the past two weeks with Double-A San Antonio, trying to show Claire and the Dodgers his surgically repaired shoulder is sound. Claire said should the Dodgers elect not to place him on the roster, Elster has until 5 p.m. Monday to accept the extension of his minor-league contract or become a free agent. Elster is hitting .316 in 10 games at San Antonio, with seven runs, six RBI and three errors and has apparently proved he's healthy for now. "I think he's shown that by playing the games he. has," Claire said. "He's certainly shown us he has a playable arm. But at the same time, we haven't made a decision." Elster has indicated he will take the free agency window this time if the Dodgers don't bring him up. Claire is likely decided to add Elster to the roster, but is waiting to until the end of tonight's game to make sure no one is injured before announcing how to make room for him on the roster. Infielder Dave Hansen (2-for-13) is a likely candidate to be sent down if Elster is activated. Dodgers notes The Dodgers' 9-1 loss to the Astros Friday was their eighth consecutive at the Astrodome. Counting Montreal's Olympic Stadium, the Dodgers have now lost 14 consecutive games in a domed stadium. . . . Tom Candlottl was pitching well when everything fell apart for him In the fifth inning. He left after giving up five consecutive hits to start the Inning, taking the loss and falling to 1-4. ... Reliever Steve Wilson didn't help Candiotti's or his own cause when he took over. He allowed a bases-loaded double off the center-field wall to Kevin Camlnltl. Said Wilson: "You feel like you blew the game. Like you're a closer who blew the lead. If I get Caminiti, it's still a close game and we can come back. I thought I threw him a pretty good pitch a low curvehall. It was the pitch J wanted.1' . . . Catcher Mike Piazza sat out the game with & sore hamstring. Gruber was obtained in December by the Angels for infielder Luis Sojo and later underwent surgery on his left shoulder. He has yet to play for his new team. Gruber's rehab assignment will continue through May 23. He will then be assigned to Triple-A Vancouver and is scheduled to return to the Angels June 5. CURTIS BENCHED: Center fielder Chad Curtis was not in the lineup Friday night. In Wednesday's game, Curtis was charged with a throwing error and later was picked off first base. Angels manager Buck Rodgers indicated that Friday night's time off was intended to give Curtis time to think about those mistakes. "Punishment is too strong a word. If I was going to punish him, I'd call him in and fine him," Rodgers said. "The whole object of this is to make Chad Curtis a better, more productive ballplayer. It's not to punish Chad although one (the benching) does have something to do with the other (the mistakes). I'd be a liar if I said it didn't. "But, overall, I thought he needed a day off." Curtis has 10 hits in his last 22 at-bats with a five-game hitting streak. He's hitting .299 overall in 30 games. Only shortstop Gary DiSarcina and left fielder Luis Polonia have played in more games (31). Curtis went into the weekend second in the American League in stolen bases with 16, but has also been thrown out seven times. "If I lose my aggressiveness or intensity, I probably wouldn't be the ballplayer I am," Curtis said. "That's what has gotten me as far as I've gotten. I've just got to learn to channel that, learn how to use it." SNOW VS. JOYNER: Not that anyone's comparing but here are the numbers anyway: : Angels first baseman J.T. Snow went into the weekend series against the Kansas City Royals hitting .252 with- team-highs of eight home runs and 23 runs batted in. Former Angels first baseman Wally Joyner is hitting .248 with one homer and eight RBI for Kansas City. FALLING SNOW: Snow's average has dropped precipitously in the past three weeks. Snow was hitting .407 on April 24, was still over .300 as late as May 3 but has now lost 155 points in the last 17 games. The switch-hitter has been consistent, though. A .250 hitter from the right i r l 1 i n o i 1 ' - - - aiuc, ouuw iiaa nil .Jd uuiu mc iciu oia of his homers and 23 of his RBI have come as a left-hander (but he has 59 more at-bats as a lefty). 5 1 w- ha - &m . fVJ APWIREPHOTO Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken climbs over Detroit runner Kirk Gibson and makes the throw to first base to complete the double play in the second inning of Detroit's 4-3 victory at Tiger Stadium Friday night. Chicago, McDowell shut out Texas Jack McDowell became baseball's first seven-game winner with a performance worthy of an ace. McDowell, who began the evening with a 5.25 ERA, pitched a four-hitter and sent the Chicago White Sox over the host Texas Rangers 4-0. McDowell (7-1) struck out six, walked one and allowed only one runner to reach third base in his first shutout of the season. He outdueled Kevin Brown (4-2), who also had a four-hitter, and reduced his ERA to 4.42. "That was the best he's thrown all year," said catcher Ron Karkovice, who backed McDowell with a two-run homer in the second. "He was winning before but he was giving up some runs. Tonight he stayed on top of his forkball and he had good pop on his fastball." McDowell, 7-1 lifetime against Texas, was in trouble only once. In the sixth, David Hulse led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a fly out, but McDowell struck out Jose Canseco and retired Butch Davis on a fly ball. AL ROUNDUP "He hadn't gotten into a groove until tonight," White Sox manager Gene Lamont said. "Whenever he's in trouble, he always seems to get the big out." McDowell struck out Canseco three times. He shut down a lineup that had a season-high 18 hits in Thursday's 9-5 victory over Oakland. "He was on tonight," Canseco said. "Everything he threw was moving. He had a great forkball. You have to give him credit. He pitched a great game." McDowell had little to say after the game. "I thought he pitched a tremendous game," he said of Brown. "Other than that, I don't feel like talking. I'm just trying to get my bearings." Karkovice hit a two-run homer in the second inning, putting Chicago ahead 3-0. The White Sox won for the 16th time in 21 games. BLUE JAYS 8, YANKEES 6: John Ole-rud hit a two-run homer in the ninth in ning and Toronto beat host New York. ' Hot-hitting Paul Molitor singled with one out in the ninth off Rich Mon-teleone (3-3) and Olerud hit his fourth home run with two outs. TWINS 4, RED SOX 3: Scott Erickson pitched three-hit ball for 8 'a innings, continuing his mastery of visiting Boston, and ex-Twin Frank Viola walked a career-high seven in losing for the first time to Minnesota. ATHLETICS 2, MARINERS 1: Lance Blankenship's pinch-hit single drove in the winning run in the 11th inning, giving Oakland their 15th straight victory over Seattle at the Coliseum. TIGERS 4, ORIOLES 3: Lou Whitaker singled home the winning run with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Detroit Tigers over Baltimore. BREWERS 5, INDIANS 2: John Jaha hit his first homer of the season and drove in two runs, leading Mike Boddicker and host Milwaukee past Cleveland. From Sun News Services Harris pitches Padres past red-hot Giants, 3-1 Greg Harris cooled off San Francisco with a six-hitter and ended Matt Williams' major league-leading hitting streak at 15 games as host San Diego beat the Giants 3-1 to stop a four-game losing streak. Fred McGriff hit his seventh homer, a bases-empty shot to center field on a 3-0 pitch from Jeff Brantley (2-3) in the sixth inning. Kurt Stillwell hit his first on a 1-0 pitch leading off the seventh. Brantley has allowed an NL-leading 10 home runs, and seven in his last three starts. Harris (3-5) earned his fifth straight victory against the Giants. He threw his first complete game since April 29, 1992. He struck out three, walked two and retired 15 straight batters from the third to the eighth innings. Willie McGee ended that streak when he singled with one out in the eighth, stole second, took third on a balk and scored on Darren Lewis' single. Barry Bonds followed Lewis with a single to put runners on first and third. But Bonds was caught off first by Harris, who faked a throw to third, ran toward NL ROUNDUP second and chased down Bonds for the tag near first base in a play that rarely works. BRAVES 10, PHILLIES 7: Ron Gant and Terry Pendleton each drove in three runs, and host Atlanta went on to outscore Philadelphia. REDS 13, ROCKIES 5: Kevin Mitchell went 4-for-4 and hit a home run, giving him three homers, three doubles and a triple in his last 10 at-bats, as host Cincinnati defeated Colorado. EXPOS 8, METS 7: Marquis Gris-som had four hits for the second straight game, including a club re-cord-tying three doubles, and host Montreal outlasted New York. CARDINALS 7, MARLINS 2: Bob Tewksbury gave up two runs in eight innings and singled home a run as St. Louis beat visiting Florida. CUBS 3, PIRATES 2: Mark Grace drove in two runs as host Chicago beat Pittsburgh behind Mike Har-key. From Sun News Services Rockies' Gainer hits first pitch for homer The Associated Press CINCINNATI Jay Gainer of the Colorado Rockies hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. Gainer played for the High Desert Mavericks in 1991. Gainer hit the first pitch thrown in the second inning by Tim Pugh. He was the 12th player to homer on the first pitch. "I was joking around with the guys that I was going to do that. But I wasn't really thinking about it when I went up there," Gainer said. "But then Pugh gave me a fastball right down the pipe." The last player to homer on the first pitch was Junior Felix, for Toronto, on May 4, 1989. Chicago Cubs pitcher Jim Bullinger homered in his first at-bat on June 8, 1992. Gainer, 26, was making his first start for the Rockies after being called up from Colorado Springs. He was leading the Pacific Coast League in RBI with 39. He was called up to fill a roster vacancy created when Andres Galarraga went on the 15-day DL Thursday, retroactive to May 9, because of a slight tear of his right hamstring. Gainer became the 66th player to homer in his first major-league at-bat. Gainer hit 10 homers for Spokane in 1990, 32 for High Desert in 1991 and 23 for Wichita in 1992. i t Baseball notes TV deal puzzles players NEW YORK Politicians and the players' association said Friday they were puzzled by major-league baseball's refusal to consider the new CBS proposal for a national television contract. "The response to the CBS offer only heightens the general weirdness of the situation," said Eugene Orza, associate general counsel of the Major League Baseball Players Association. "ABC and NBC would be at no financial risk in this package. How can that be? When you are the stewards of the national pastime, you sell rights to the game to people who have no financial downside?" The ruling executive council sent clubs the required 10-day notice needed before a vote. Owners controlling the negotiations saia tney win press tor approval of the joint venture with ABC and inbvj, wnicn wouia prevent tans from watching all games of the league championship series. CBS said during Thursday s owners' meeting that it proposed a two-year deal worth about $120 million a season guaranteed fur the league championship series, the World Series and 16 regular-season games, leaving baseball to sell a first round of expanded playoffs to cable. The ABC-NBC deal, in which the two networks would share revenue instead of paying a guaranteed rights fee, is estimated by owners to be worth about $145 million to them in 1994. It calls for 12 regular-season broadcasts and expanded playoffs. Large-market teams, led by the New York Mets and New York Yankees, oppose the ABC-NBC deal because it would give them fewer games on local television during the regular season. Officials said Friday the TV vote will test the power of the large-market clubs, who also are wary ot tne revenue-snaring plan being developed by Player Relations. Committee president Richard Kavitch. While television contracts need approval of eight of 14 teams in each league, a total of 21 votes are needed to approve revenue sharing. BELL SUSPENDED: NEW YORK Derek Bell of the San Diego Padres was suspended for three games and fined by National League president Bill White for a run-in with umpire Grea Bonin. Bell armoalerl so hp can continue to play pending a hearing. Bell threw a bat and helmet in Bonin's direction and made "incidental physical contact" with the umpire during an argument about a called third strike on May 7 at Chicago. EXPOS RETIRE No.10: MONTREAL Rusty Staub's No. 10 will be retired by Montreal today . The number is the first retired by the Expos in their 25-season history. Staub, a broadcaster with the New York Mets for the last eight years, played in Montreal from 1969-1971, and again in the second half of the 1979 season. NOTABLE:The Milwaukee I Brewers activated Robin Yount in time for Friday's game against ' Cleveland, 17 days after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The Brewers optioned outfielder Troy O'Loary to Triple-A New Or-leans to make room fori Yount First baseman Don Mattlngly was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the New York Yankees because of a muscle strain in his lower left rib, cage. : Outfielders Miko Humphrey and Gerald Williams were each re-'. called from the Yankees' Colum- j bus Triple-A affiliate The St. ! Louis Cardinals activated Bar-nard CUIkey and sent Ozzlo Cans-co to their Triple-A Louisville team. Canseco batted only .176 with three singles in 17 at-bats and had problems defensive-1 ly. . . .New York Mets third base-'. man Howard Johnson missed Fri-day's game against the Montreal ' Expos because of a migraine ' headache. g i From Sun News Service's )

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