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American League : A Summer Like So Many Others for Fred Lynn

August 25, 1985|Ross Newhan

Don Baylor, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson and Fred Lynn, the heart of the Angels' 1982 batting order, are shown in a large color photograph hanging in the media dining room at Anaheim Stadium.

The photograph caught the attention of an Orange County columnist the other night.

"I don't know how many times I've looked at it, but this is the first time I've noticed that Lynn's wrist and hand are taped," he said.

The columnist smiled, then said, "Appropriate, isn't it."

His meaning was obvious.

Lynn's tenure in Anaheim was marred by a variety of injuries. If his wrists and hands weren't taped, there was a brace on his knee or a wrap on his ankle.

Lynn's bid to finally produce another Boston-type year with the Baltimore Orioles has been similarly frustrated.

He injured his left ankle sliding at the Metrodome the week after the All-Star game. Then he hurt his back while favoring the ankle.

Said a man who watches the Orioles regularly: "Fred goes to the plate and looks like he's 150 years old with all the contortions he has to do to get loose."

Lynn, who will return with the Orioles to Anaheim Stadium Monday night, had a .263 batting average with 16 homers and 50 RBIs in 79 games before the All-Star break. He hit .248 with 8 RBIs and 3 home runs in the first 29 games after the break.

"Some days it's not too bad," he said of the back. "Some days it's really bad.

"It comes down to doing the best you can on that particular day."

The Oil Can Boyd affair is merely reflective of Boston's long, hard summer.

Boasting one of baseball's most powerful lineups but devoid of speed and quality pitching, the Red Sox are headed only for a major shake-up. As major as the normal array of no-trade contracts will allow, at least.

Said owner Haywood Sullivan:

"We're paying top dollar but not getting top performance. Some changes have to be made."

General Manager Lou Gorman said the "nature of the team" has to be changed, implying an emphasis on speed and pitching rather than one-dimensional Fenway Park power.

The problem, of course, is that Boston's most attractive players--Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and Wade Boggs--appear to be untouchables. The Red Sox will attempt to rebuild by offering Tony Armas and Mike Easler.

It will be a major transition. The Red Sox have been power-oriented for most of the century. For example, only three Red Sox--Jerry Remy, Tommy Harper and Joe Foy--have stolen 25 or more bases in a season since 1927.

The last product of the Red Sox system who stole 30 or more in a season? Tris Speaker in 1914.

No arguing with Detroit Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson's view that the New York Yankees "have 3 of the top 10 players in baseball." He referred to Rickey Henderson, Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield.

The Toronto Blue Jays' touted pitching staff is being held together by two recent recalls from Syracuse. One is reliever Tom Henke, who recorded 3 wins and 6 saves in his first 11 appearances, striking out 21 in 17 innings. The other is starter Tom Filer, who is 7-0, having received 57 runs in the seven games.

Dave Stieb, the Blue Jay ace, is 12-9 overall and 3-4 since the All-Star break. He told Neal MacCarl of the Toronto Sun last week that his arm is sore but not sore enough to take a rest.

Is Stieb being mercenary? He will get a $25,000 bonus at 225 innings, another at 250 and a $50,000 bonus at 275.

Respect? George Brett of the Kansas City Royals has 27 intentional walks. That figure ties Eddie Murray's major league-leading total of last year and is six shy of Ted Williams' major league record, set in 1957.

Brett is among the league's overall walk leaders with 74.

"If I was a disciplined hitter, I'd probably lead the league in walks, but I don't really have a strike zone," he said.

"I just feel that if I see the ball well, I'll try to drive it somewhere."

Dominance? Bret Saberhagen, the Royals' impressive sophomore from Reseda's Cleveland High School, has a 7-2 record against Detroit, 4-1 this year. He has struck out Kirk Gibson 9 of the last 13 times they have faced one another.

Personal: One wonders what course the 1985 race would have taken for the Angels had Ken Forsch and Geoff Zahn been in the rotation instead of on the disabled list all season. Would Kirk McCaskill have been recalled from Edmonton so quickly? Would the trade for John Candelaria have been made?

Now, as the Angels battle to maintain their lead down the stretch, good friends Forsch and Zahn are battling to extend their careers.

Zahn, 38, is expected to have arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder this week. Drs. Lewis Yocum and Frank Jobe are not certain what they will find. If an arthroscopic shaving of the bone is all that's required, the rehabilitative period is only three weeks. If conventional surgery is needed, the rehabilitative period is three months. There is also the threat of a torn rotator cuff, which could end Zahn's career.

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