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Spring Baseball Roundup : The Phillies Have Several Questions to Answer

February 22, 1986|From United Press International

The Philadelphia Phillies opened spring training at Clearwater, Fla., Friday, facing big questions about their pitching and catching.

The trading of John Denny to the Cincinnati Reds and the uncertainty surrounding the status of Steve Carlton means the Phillies have only three starting pitchers--Kevin Gross, Shane Rawley and the inconsistent Charles Hudson.

Having traded Ozzie Virgil to Atlanta, the Phillies are hoping John Russell, who has not caught in two years, and Darren Daulton can do the job behind the plate.

"There's no question we have a lot of major questions we need answered this spring," Manager John Felske said. "In time, we think they will be answered. But there's no question we have a lot of work to do. And if we can't find the answers, we're going to struggle."

Carlton's career is in jeopardy because of a sore left shoulder that bothered him all last season. He was the focal point of the session Friday, throwing for 10 minutes as the 17 Phillie pitchers and six catchers worked out for more than two hours in humid weather at the Carpenter Complex.

At Miami, the Baltimore Orioles held their first workout for pitchers and catchers. Among players who were to report, only pitcher Odell Jones was missing.

At Tampa, Fla., the Cincinnati Reds opened their training camp with six catchers and 20 pitchers in uniform, but not free agent reliever Rollie Fingers. The former Cy Young Award winner was invited as a non-roster player, but refused to shave off his trademark handlebar mustache to comply with the club's rule against facial hair.

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., catcher Juan Espino and pitcher Alfonso Pulido, neither of whom are expected to make the club, were the only players missing when the New York Yankees had their first spring training workout.

Besides pitchers and catchers, American League MVP Don Mattingly, who underwent minor hand surgery during the winter, infielders Bobby Meacham (wrist) and Andre Robertson (knee), are in camp early for rehabilitation purposes.

At Bradenton, Fla., pitchers Cecilio Guante and Rick Rhoden, who has made no secret of his desire to be traded, were absent when spring workouts for pitchers and catchers opened for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

At West Palm Beach, Atlanta Braves pitchers and catchers held their first spring workout for new manager Chuck Tanner with only pitchers Pascual Perez and Paul Assenmacher missing.

Perez, the veteran right-hander who suffered through a 1-13 season in 1985, was in the Dominican Republic reportedly with a case of the flu.

Veteran relief pitcher Bruce Sutter, who underwent shoulder surgery, threw four minutes of batting practice and participated in fielding, bunting and sliding drills.

Pitcher Terry Forster suffered a bruised lip and chipped teeth when he was kicked in the mouth by coach Rich Morales during drills to break up double-plays.

Forster, who arrived in camp weighing 230 pounds after losing about 40 pounds in a rigid diet program during the off-season, finished the day's work and is not expected to miss any practices.

The Angels open their training camp today at Mesa, Ariz.

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