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Spring Training / Angels : John Keeps Ball Down and His Own Stock Up

March 29, 1985|ROSS NEWHAN | Times Staff Writer

PALM SPRINGS — Tommy John delivered some strong pitches Thursday--on and off the field.

He first worked six innings of a "B" game against Cleveland, allowing only three hits and one run.

He then said that the media haven't been hearing the truth from Angel General Manager Mike Port.

"I wouldn't say Mike has been lying," John said, "but I don't think he's told the truth when he's said that no one is interested in me. I know for a fact that two or three clubs are interested. The people I know in the business tell me that."

John would not name the clubs he believes are interested in him. He implied that Detroit and Atlanta may be two of them. He said Port could probably have traded him already.

"I'm told that he's trying to hold people up, trying to drive them off so that he can buy time to see what the kids can do and to give me time to build up my stock," John said.

John remains convinced that the Angels are determined to go with young pitchers.

Pat Clements, up from double A, already appears to have won a bullpen seat. Bob Kipper, up from single A, is still in contention for a long-relief role or John's rotation berth.

John has said he wants to be traded if he is not going to pitch regularly. He has refused to give up control over a trade by waiving the no-trade clause in his contract. He has indicated a desire to be traded to a contender.

"Mike told Bob Cohen (John's agent) yesterday that the pot is stewing," John said.

"I don't know what that means. I don't know if he's cooking something or not. I do know that I probably went from medium to hot today.

"I feel really good about it. I could have pitched seven or eight innings. I've pitched 20 now this spring and had 58 ground-ball outs and hits, including 14 today.

"I'm throwing sinkers. I'm keeping the ball on the ground."

Asked about his "pot is stewing" comment to Cohen, Port said he meant only that the Angels are reaching a point where they must make significant decisions.

He denied a Thursday rumor that he had sent a telex to every major leagure club advertising John's availability. He insisted that the Angels have received no trade inquiries regarding John and that the Angels have brought up his name to other clubs in only a general sense, asking by phone whether they would be interested if a trade is decided upon.

Port said he has drawn a blank there, too.

He said the Angels would want a prospect for John, "someone who would fortify us for the future." He said the discussions with other clubs have never reached the price stage.

Said Manager Gene Mauch, refusing to define John's status:

"He got a slew of ground balls today like he always does. When you're coming off two difficult years, and you're a man of his caliber, you better be pitching good early.

"For 15 years it didn't matter what he did in the spring."

Now, of course, it does. John knows it. He has said he can't afford the luxury of one bad outing. He avoided it Thursday, enhancing his trade stock--if not his stock with the Angels--with a stylish effort that was over before the crowd arrived to see the "A" game, which the Angels won, 8-2.

Asked if it was demeaning to have to pitch the morning game, John laughed and said: "No, I asked for it. I wanted to make sure the writers were up by 10."

Angel Notes Dr. Gerald Rozansky of the Life Start program at Centinela Hospital Medical Center told General Manager Mike Port that first baseman Daryl Sconiers, who has been undergoing evaluation for a "substance problem," will continue treatment at Centinela "for the next couple weeks." Port said he has not attempted to learn the nature of the problem or the treatment Sconiers is getting. He said it is obvious Sconiers will not be with the team when the season opens April 9. He will be put on some type of restricted list, Port said.

X-rays of Frank LaCorte's ailing shoulder showed a calcium deposit. LaCorte will have an arthrogram at Dr. Lewis Yocum's Inglewood office today. . . . Ken Forsch threw both fastballs and breaking balls during a 15-minute sideline workout Thursday and said that the twinge in his elbow seemed better. Forsch said he would throw "full out" Saturday. "If it's OK then, I'll pitch on Monday," he said. Ron Romanick allowed nine hits but only two first-inning runs in a six-inning stint as the A-game starter. . . . Cleveland starter Mike Jeffcoat went only 1 innings. He was charged with five hits and five earned runs. . . . Dick Schofield drove in two runs with a double and single. Bob Boone drove in two with a single and sacrifice fly. Gary Pettis singled twice and walked.

The Angels returned eight players to the Mesa training base for minor league reassignment. Cut were pitchers Kirk McCaskill, D.W. Smith, Stu Cliburn and Tony Mack, outfielder Devon White, infielders Mark McLemore and Norm Carrasco and catcher Steve Liddle.

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