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BASEBALL '85 : Padres May Go to Bench Early : Royster and Bevacqua Could Start at San Francisco

April 08, 1985|MARC APPLEMAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — For the first time in his managerial career, the Padres' Dick Williams said he has completed a spring training without finalizing his opening day lineup.

After the Padres' final exhibition game on Sunday afternoon, a 13-inning 2-2 tie against the Minnesota Twins, Williams talked about possible lineups.

He said that injuries and the team's lack of hitting in recent games have led him to consider starting utilityman Jerry Royster at second base and Kurt Bevacqua at third base in Tuesday's opener against the Giants at San Francisco.

Both are right-handed hitters, and the Padres are scheduled to face left-hander Atlee Hammaker.

Royster would start in place of Alan Wiggins, who Williams said will probably not play on the Padres' first trip. Wiggins has a strained ligament in his right knee, and has been out of action since March 30. Wiggins took batting practice on Sunday, and Williams said he is about 80% healthy.

Williams has been playing Tim Flannery a lot at second base, but Flannery bats left-handed.

Williams is considering starting Bevacqua at third because Graig Nettles also is left-handed. Royster had been scheduled to platoon with Nettles at third, and will do so when Wiggins returns to the lineup.

For Bevacqua, the opening day start would be his first since he was the Texas Rangers' designated hitter against the New York Yankees in 1978.

"Don't make me lose sleep," Bevacqua said when he was told about the possibility of starting.

Was Bevacqua surprised he would be used at third base?

"I've played third throughout my career," he said, "and I don't feel less comfortable there than I do at first.

"I think I'm an adequate fielder, and don't know what the rap is on me. Maybe it's that I'm not the smoothest fielder, but I'm not smooth doing anything."

Earlier in the spring, Williams said that Jerry Davis would start in left in place of Carmelo Martinez, who is on the 15-day disabled list. Martinez is recovering from hand surgery.

Williams said that he would definitely decide on his opening day lineup after this morning's workout.

"Going in without a set lineup doesn't bother me," Williams said. "What does bother me is that we're not getting any sock. We have to try and make things happen."

In the past three games at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, the Padres scored four runs in 32 innings. They were shut out for 10 innings by San Diego State on Friday night, and scored just two runs in a 6-2 loss on Saturday night.

"We've been swinging the bat pretty good all spring," said Deacon Jones, Padre batting coach. "I don't put a great deal of stock into what's happened the last couple of days. We're gonna have slumps, and there's no reason to panic.

"And, the players get a new high when the real season starts."

Padre Notes

The Padres did get strong pitching in Sunday's game. Andy Hawkins started and gave up four hits and two earned runs in four innings. Mark Thurmond allowed just one hit in four innings, Craig Lefferts pitched two scoreless innings, and Goose Gossage, Greg Booker and Tim Stoddard pitched one scoreless inning each. "I was real pleased with the pitching today," Dick Williams said. "I thought Thurmond and Hawk threw real well." . . . The Padres finished the exhibition season with an 11-15-2 record. Last season, they were 13-17. . . . There were only about 500 fans around for the end of Sunday's game. The Padres drew only 4,654 fans on Easter Sunday. The Twins-Padres series does not figure to develop into a big rivalry. Saturday's game only attracted a crowd of 3,690.

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