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Attitude Improves for Padres : McReynolds' New Work Ethic Pays Off in 3-2 Win Over Expos

August 21, 1986|MARC APPLEMAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Padre Manager Steve Boros saw something in Kevin McReynolds' attitude Wednesday night that he hasn't seen in a long time.

It was increased dedication from a player whom Padre President Ballard Smith recently said had "more ability than anyone on the club but bad work habits."

McReynolds hit two home runs and drove in three runs in the Padres' 3-2 victory over the Montreal Expos Wednesday night in front of 11,602 in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

That's two straight victories and two straight excellent games for McReynolds, who hit a home run and drove in a career-high five runs Tuesday night. McReynolds, who has been hindered by a jammed shoulder, is 7 for 12 in his last four games with 10 RBIs.

Boros sees a connection between McReynolds' batting tear and his improved work habits.

"Mac didn't hit the ball well in batting practice tonight," Boros said. "But then he went to the batting cage. And he hit a bunch of balls in the netting. He didn't just go out and shag flies. Something was wrong and he had to fix it.

"I saw something today that I hadn't seen in a while. And he got results."

Good results for a man who is said to have poor work habits.

"Sure, Mac's work habits suffer by comparison to (Tony) Gwynn and some other guys," Boros said. "He needs improvement in that area."

Again recently, McReynolds was belittled for his failure to fulfill his potential. On Tuesday, Smith complained of McReynolds' work ethic to the Escondido Times-Advocate. "He has more ability than anyone on the club, but he had bad work habits. I don't like that. Kevin McReynolds ought to be making a million dollars a year, and we'd love to pay it to him . . . if he produces on the field," Smith said.

"As far as work habits, you have Tony Gwynn on one side and Kevin McReynolds on the other. It's up to Kevin. We can't force him to do anything. But he must realize that he doesn't automatically have a job with the club."

What does McReynolds think of all this?

"My job is to go out and play on the field," McReynolds said. Wednesday, McReynolds blasted a 3-2 pitch off Montreal starter and loser Jay Tibbs over the right-center-field fence in the fourth . In the sixth, he hit a 1-0 pitch from Tibbs into the left-field seats on a hit-and-run play that produced two runs.

McReynolds is hitting .280 with a team-leading 18 home runs and 64 RBIs.

Yet, more is expected.

"He has done it yesterday and today," said Padre General Manager Jack McKeon. "That's what we've been hoping to get on a continued basis."

Padre Notes

Eric Show (9-5) won his second straight start after returning to the rotation. Show had been out with tendinitis in his right elbow. On Wednesday, he allowed seven hits and two runs in six innings. Craig Lefferts pitched of an inning, Lance McCullers pitched 1 innings and Goose Gossage got his 21st save by pitching a scoreless ninth . . . In response to the announcement by federal arbitrator Tom Roberts on July 30 that declared drug-testing clauses in the contracts of major league players unenforceable, the Padres say they will no longer give multiyear contracts. All contracts will be one-year deals. "You (the players) don't give us any guarantee in terms of drug testing," said Padre General Manager Jack McKeon. "Why should we give them a guarantee? I agree with Ballard (Smith)." With no multiyear contracts, the Padres will not be caught paying a guaranteed sum to a player who develops a drug problem. That would have been the case with Alan Wiggins if the Padres hadn't been able to trade him to Baltimore last season. Wiggins had a five-year deal. "Basically, I would think the players would want to give it (drug testing)," McKeon said. "It's the union that's stopping it. In the past, we were willing to give a multiyear contract if they agreed to the clause." Tim Flannery, Bruce Bochy and Mark Thurmond had drug-testing clauses in the multiyear contracts they signed in the past off-season. Thurmond was traded to the Detroit Tigers. Dane Iorg also had a drug-testing clause in his one-year contract. Those drug-testing clauses are no longer valid after the July 30 ruling . . . When asked about the Padres' managerial situation, owner Joan Kroc smiled and said: "Don't you think Goose Gossage is a pretty good manager?" When a beer ban was imposed in the Padre clubhouse at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium on June 5, Gossage strongly criticized the way Kroc and Smith ran the team.

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