Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on February 24, 1992 · Page 27
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 27

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Detroit, Michigan
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Monday, February 24, 1992
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Page 27
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' MONDAY,' FEBRUARY 24, 1992DETROIT FREE PRESS 3D' r r i -n j-.. 1 GEORGE WALDMANDetroit Free Press Frank Tanana, left, playfully grabs 26-year-old left-hander Mike Munoz, who '8 trying to grab a spot on the Opening Day roster. Gibson deal helps promote young arms in Tigers' system By John Lowe Free Press Sports Writer LAKELAND, Fla. The Tigers' need for relief pitching raises a curious question: Why did they trade Paul Gibson? The left-hander served diligently, and usually effectively for four seasons in the bullpen. Yet the club swapped him to the Mets in late January and didn't get anyone guaranteed to take his place. So in spring training, the Tigers must fill three vacancies in the five-man bullpen. Right-handers Mike Hen-neman and Mark Leiter have the only sure relief spots. The major leaguer acquired for Gibson is outfielder Mark Carreon, a hitter with power notably as a pinch-hitter. But Carreon isn't expected to start regularly, and don't the Tigers already have enough hitters? Club officials didn't offer Gibson around. But the Mets persisted, calling twice a week about him. The clubs had talked about a Car-reon-Gibson deal for nearly a year, and manager Sparky Anderson said Sunday he vetoed a Gibson-for-Alejandro Pena swap in August. The Mets then sent Pena to the Braves, where he became a late-season bullpen star. Jerry Walker, who became the Tigers' general manager in September, wouldn't trade Gibson for Carreon unless the Tigers also received a pitcher. The Mets finally offered left-hander Tony Castillo, a veteran of more than 100 big-league games. Walker then added minor-league lefty Randy Marshall to complete his first deal. Castillo might not make the team, but that's all right with Anderson and Walker. Castillo doesn't have to justify the Gibson trade. The Gibson swap fits with a longer-range motive: giving young pitchers from the farm system a chance to make the club. The three bullpen vacancies represent the best opportunity young Tigers pitchers have had in several springs. Club management now thinks enough of its farm system to dismiss the possibility of filling the roster with veterans from elsewhere. These openings came about because the club said "so long" this winter to its three veteran left-handed relievers: Gibson, Jerry Don Gleaton and John Cerutti. The Tigers have ranked among the American League's worst in pitching the last three seasons. In so many words, Anderson said, "Our pitching . McClellan fights tonight at Mace Kronk's Gerald McClellan, the new WBO middleweight champion, will face Tim Dendy of Jackson, Tenn., in a 10-round nontitle bout at the Palace tonight. McClellan (23-2) won the title with a stunning first-round knockout of John (The Beast) Mugabi in England last November. Others scheduled on the card include unbeaten junior welter Marlon Thomas (7-0) and junior middleweight Brian Blakely (5-2) of Grand Rapids. Stuart Kirschenbaum, chairman of the State Athletic Commission, will boycott the program in protest of John Moriarty's presence as a judge. Kirschenbaum protested the appointment because Moriarty, 37, was involved several years ago in neo-Nazi activities. Moriarty was appointed by the State Licensing Board in Lansing. Kirschenbaum has feuded with the board for several years. By George Puscas BASEBALL- Michigan beat host St. Leo (Fla.), 11-9. Michigan (1-1) scored two runs in the eighth inning and righthander Todd Collins got the win after pitching 3 innings and retiring the last nine batters. Designated hitter Nate Holdren went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a two-run homer. . . . Michigan State took second place in the Team Casa Collegiate Classic in FJ Paso, Texas. The Spartans were 3-1 in the tournament and lost the championship, 12-7, to the University of Washington on Sunday. Designated hitter Jason Rambo hit a home run Michigan State. . . . hasn't done well, so why not give &ome other people a chance?" The only hard part of dealing Gibson, he said, was how much he liked him personally. He said it's why he mistakenly vetoed the swap for Pena. Travis Fryman and Milt Cuyler broke the Tigers' drought on developing their own everyday players. The farm system still hasn't pro duced a steady starting pitcher since Dan Petry or a reliever since Henne- man. Now, homegrown pitchers Scott Aldred, Greg Gohr and John DeSilva can soon become rotation regulars. The leading candidates to win the bullpen jobs appear to be right-handers Kevin Ritz, Dan Gakeler and Steve Cummings. Ritz has too good an arm to give up on; Gakeler and Cummings came from other organizations. But a left-hander in the pen is important for balance, and the possibili ties here are Castillo, Jeff Kaiser, Mike Munoz and Buddy Groom. Walker still might shop for bullpen veterans, but not until he and Ander son see these young pitchers in the exhibition games. "Toronto won last year with two rookies in the bullpen: (Mike) Timlin and (Bob) MacDonald, Walker said. "We have more questions than nor mal with our pitching staff," Anderson said. "But we also have better arms. Anderson confessed that he expected the Tigers to finish fifth the last two seasons. They surprised him by finishing third and second (tied). "We can be a legitimate contender this year if our pitching ranks about seventh or eighth in the league (in team ERA), Anderson said. Around the horn BOSTON: Principal owner Jean Yawkey't condition was downgraded to very serious, according to officials at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is being treated for a stroke. h CALIFORNIA: Manager Buck Rodger said of left-hander Chuck Flnley, an 18-oame winner last season who had toe surgery during the off-season: "I'm preparing like he's not going to be there" for Opening Day. Finley underwent surgery on Dec. 5 for a splintered bone in the big toe on his left foot. He hasn't been allowed to run or pitch from a mound yet. OAKLAND: The Athletics are worried about the condition of right-hander Bob Welch's left knee. Welch, 35, a Detroit native and a 27-game winner when he won the AL Cy Young Award in 1990, felt a pop in the knee while squatting to read to his son Jan. 26. Welch, 12-13 last season, underwent a test the next day that showed no damage. He didn't throw during the first two days of camp and will be examined again today. ARBITRATION: The final totals: 157 filed; clubs beat the players, 11-9, their second straight winning year. The other 137 cases were settled before hearings. Eastern Michigan opened its season by beating Eckerd College, 1-0, at Henley Field in Lakeland, Fla. Outfielder Shawn Winston hit a home run. HOCKEY: The Detroit Ambassadors fen to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, 5-4, in overtime Sunday at Joe Louis Arena before a team-record crowd of 13,289. Chris Simon of Sault Ste. Marie (37-17-5) scored the winning goal at 3:18 of overtime. It was the 10th consecutive victory for the Greyhounds, who lead the Emms Division of the Ontario Hockey League. Chris Skoryna led the Ambassadors (19-38-0) with two goals. Todd Harvey and Pat Barton also scored. SKIING: Ferris State's men and University of Michigan's women teams qualified for the national championships by placing in the top three at the Midwest regional at Sugar Loaf Resort in Cedar. Michigan State's Heather Johnson of Traverse City qualified as an individual. SOCCER: Ian Falrbrother scored a two-point goal five seconds Into the fourth quarter to break a 4-4 tie, and the Detroit Rockers went on to beat host Milwaukee, 10-9. Dan O'Keefe ted Detroit with two two-point goals. The Rockers (14-14) have a 1-game edge over the Wave (14-17) for sixth place in the National Professional Soccer League and the final playoff spot. WRESTLING: Wisconsin defeated Michigan, 19-17, In the final meet of the regular season. Michigan (13-4-1, 5-2-1 Big Ten) got victories from Joey Gilbert (134 pounds), James Rawls (142) , Sean Bormet (158) . Lanny Green (177), and Phil Tomek (heavyweight), a major decision over Charles Wahtola. I Tigers' GM sees new LAKELAND, Fla. In 1957, Jerry Walker was an 18-year-old pitcher with a twang in his voice and a hum in his fastball. He had done all he could do in Ada, Okla., and the Baltimore Orioles promised him a whole new world. Here, kid, they said, sign on the dotted line. And Jerry Walker, for the princely sum of $5,000, became one of baseball's earliest bonus babies and the public the men who worked the auto lines and the women who tried to make $20 do a week's worth of grocery shopping rolled its eyes and asked how a man could make that much money just by signing his name on a piece of paper. Jerry Walker is 53 now. And if he ever thought $5,000 was a handsome chunk of money, he knows now that it is not. In his first season as general manager of the Tigers, he is presiding over the club's efforts toward fiscal responsibility and trying to keep Tom Mona-ghan from going broke while still providing Sparky Anderson with a team that will not embarrass itself or him. In his first months on the job, he has Charlie Vincent 1 ' ill ,l ... nl Snllilml ..b: vlll . a v llU ' j m. i bcvsf. i mm 11 1 , 11 ; : ic avi ssss- bid an? v j m i2? msi I mum i in. nil III: lllfgNS 2 iffiSB- 3 e!"8UB III - ! Li UmmMJ 3SI ... "1 TgH2 HI ?-sI U It MI 5CJt! : in i oil i ii! shbot a ksh? m m s ni iwi . gse tsm i pa i . i a --ass waw,KH3 UiMgns ' fl III: I U.S iim nffii IB I kwll 51 . rK. nil ? t tnH ma i wHflyi i ni,.si;?ig.aini5 w. a J ij- a lffil Vvw, g5 sss fags ; VO PiFl 3,f? gas "sks o hspl! cH i8l8i:4N'(51Pii f If!? PI es ? " g tv flrf I w Mf , iHiisgiifs! illi -.2 wMtr II51PB3 ;( iliiatSISiHIEi! Sm rx ssrifai S i Ml D3 rS tfTTv. 43 . Ty vh rT 9 10 i' 1 1 h ihmJam ?s in m m cj, : 5 1 SllS Ekwrfli k (o) '! 1 1 ' 1 ffls Si ills w sis i - ? V JVrK i If j; fe L iif i igia ii 3 . rrr""""?. to) PSs -: dm 3 sssLLJbssp 3 ssrh8afip tiSMM (T5 1 mm smMOXj mm im 011 t h IMf. been required to sign Cecil Fielder for $4.5 million and Mike Henneman for $2.4 million while releasing outfielder Lloyd Moseby, who a year ago made $1.6 million. Moseby hit six homers last season, drove in 35 runs and batted .262. The ordinary numbers were typical of his career, in which he has averaged .257. Before baseball in general and the Tigers in particular began to feel economic pressures, Mo Jerry Walker seby would not have found himself on the street as a result of that kind of year. But times have changed and when Fielder and Henneman get big raises now, the harsh reality is that the money is coming out of the pocket of somebody who used to be a teammate. Moseby's agent, Jim Neader, hasn't been able to find a job for his client. And that doesn't make him unique. Quality, veteran pitchers Dennis Lamp and Steve Bedrosian are among dozens of unemployed former big leaguers, and John Cerutti, Jerry Don Gleaton and Pete Incaviglia all let go by the Tigers had to accept minor league contracts at drastic pay cuts. And suddenly, some players have stopped demanding and begun asking. 1 -, t Mi 'ft 5b3Ed raJB Fv 53lrU Iffim if? Rl'XH hum IliVty'i j Pf X' I la I J a la J 1 I m f r-i wk 1 f f fTS 1 JS jrS Vr spin on salary cycle Soon, it might become begging. "There are people out there, veterans, who would come to camp without any kind of guarantee," Walker said Sunday, leaning on the chain-link fence at Joker Marchant Stadium in the Florida midday sunshine. "A lot of agents just want to get their guys into a camp, not so much as to make that team as to have an opportunity to show scouts who might be in the stands, too, that they can still play." It is most frequently players in the middle of their careers who have not established themselves as superstars who are hurt by baseball's new economy. The Tigers' 40-man spring training roster includes 20 players between ages 21-26; 12 players 30 or over; but only eight players aged 27-29. Limited revenues and the exaggerated price of marquee players are forcing teams to sacrifice experience for economy, and the choices are not always clear-cut. "It's a complex situation," conceded Walker, who made $6,000 in his first year with Baltimore in addition to that $5,000 bonus. "You look at what a guy can do and at what you can pay him and ask yourself if he's worth it." The millions are still going to be there probably in even larger numbers for the superstars. But the journeyman will probably have to learn to live on $400,000 or so a year or about the total Walker earned before a bad elbow forced him into retirement, spoiling a career that seemed destined for greatness when he became the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star Game as a 20-year-old in 1959. He managed in the Yankees' system for a while, coached for the Yankees and Houston and scouted for the Yankees and Tigers before taking over as GM in the fall. Anderson, who has worked with six general managers during his managing career, predicts of Walker: "Five years from right now, if you ask other general managers, I bet they'll say he's absolutely among the best, because first, he has a great knowledge as a scout; second, he has great knowledge as a coach; and third and most important, he has a great, great personality. "When he calls me, he always asks my opinion. He might say he has his own opinion, but he wants to hear mine. He gets along with everybody so well." Walker even professes to "enjoy talking with agents," an exercise that . usually sends general managers into a frenzy and then into a confessional., His fastball lost its hum long ago, disappearing about the same time he developed that pain in his elbow. But the twang in his voice remains. k "There are some who play the; game for the love of it and play it with enthusiasm," he said. "And there are still people who play for the love of the game, and the more money they get,' the more they love it."

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