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National League : Lasorda: Pitchers Not as Dumb as They Seem

August 25, 1985|Gordon Edes

Now it can be told: Tom Lasorda is the only manager in the National League who is an ex-pitcher. Why do fewer players make the transition from the mound to the manager's office?

"They say pitchers never make good managers," Lasorda said. "You know how that got started?

"All the utility players sitting on the bench, with nothing to do. They took their frustrations out on the pitchers, and claimed they were dumb."

While his teammates on the San Francisco Giants were striking out 16 times against Dwight Gooden Tuesday night, Chili Davis was getting three hits against the Mets' 19-game winner.

The New York Times reported that Davis, who is batting .583 in his career against Gooden, has little patience for talk of Gooden's immortality. Said Davis: "He ain't God, man."

Add Gooden: Since losing to Fernando Valenzuela on May 25, Gooden has won 13 of 17 starts, with four no-decisions. He is scheduled to pitch today against San Diego.

In his 16-strikeout performance, he threw 143 pitches, 101 for strikes.

But by one measurement, the National League is faring better against Gooden this season than last. Opposing hitters are batting .205 against Gooden this season compared to .202 in 1984.

Burial mound: Derek Botelho, Steve Engel, Jay Baller, Ray Fontenot and Lary Sorensen are so little known, they probably have to show IDs to get into their own clubhouse. But they're the guys who have made up the Chicago Cubs' pitching rotation since the regular staff of Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Trout, Dennis Eckersley, Scott Sanderson and Dick Ruthven went on the disabled list en masse.

Said Cub reliever George Frazier: "I don't even know the first names of our new pitchers."

Dodger utility man Bob Bailor had four hits in last Wednesday's 15-6 blowout over the Phillies, but he said it's a lot easier to hit when you play regularly.

"I admire a guy who can come off the bench and hit like he's been playing for a month, like a Rusty Staub type," Bailor said.

"It takes discipline. I don't know what else it takes, because I haven't got it."

Dr. Seuss, it ain't: Said Expo outfielder Tim Raines, reacting to the newspaper stories detailing his drug use in 1982: "I didn't expect headlines like, 'Expos Lost Pennant in '82 Because of Drugs.' I thought it would be a story to help kids."

Asked if drugs had cost the Expos the pennant in '82, as team President John McHale charged, Raines replied: "I can't really say that. You have 26 teams. Certainly, the Expos weren't the only team using drugs. Why can you single out the Expos and say they lost because of drugs?"

Starting from scratch: Expo pitcher Bill Laskey, on his former team, the Giants: "They need a new ballpark, a new front office and a new manager."

Wrote Lyle Spencer of the New York Post: "C'mon Bill, tell us how you really feel."

Say it ain't so: He'd be the last one to be quoted on the subject, but Steve Carlton's future could be in jeopardy because of an arm injury.

Carlton, 42, who hadn't pitched in nearly two months, threw about 100 pitches Friday in a simulated five-inning game. Phillie Manager John Felske told United Press International that Carlton "had a good fastball and a good curve. He'll pitch again in three or four days, depending on how long it takes him to get rid of the stiffness."

Add Cubs: Vice President Dallas Green spent $18 million last winter to retain the services of Sutcliffe, Trout and Eckersley, but he has already served notice to potential free agents Sanderson and outfielder Gary Matthews that he plans to keep a tighter grip on his wallet.

"They both have to realize they're not superstars," Green said. "I like Scott . . . but I don't intend to spend a lot of money on a guy who spends that much time on the disabled list."

Green, who has already given shortstop Larry Bowa his release--Bowa caught on with the Mets last week--had a message for some of his other veterans, as well.

"Guys may have guaranteed contracts, but they don't have guaranteed jobs," he said.

In what appears to be not even a thinly veiled message to incumbent third baseman Ron Cey, the Cubs plan to test Brian Dayett, an outfielder, at third this winter.

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