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NL Denies Gross' Appeal; Phillies to Withhold Salary

September 02, 1987|ROSS NEWHAN | Times Staff Writer

National League President A. Bartlett Giamatti announced Tuesday he was rejecting the appeal of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kevin Gross and that Gross would immediately begin a 10-day suspension for being found with sandpaper and a sticky substance in his glove while pitching against the Chicago Cubs Aug. 10.

Gross reacted with anger to the Phillies' subsequent announcement that they would withhold his salary of $23,000 for that period and donate the money to research for Lou Gehrig's disease, a favorite charity of Phillies' wives.

"I'm definitely upset with my own club," Gross said Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. "I can't believe they would go over what I've already been penalized. It flat out ticks me off. Even more than that.

"I've been here a long time. I've done everything they asked me to do. I've pitched with minor injuries and this year I pitched with an injury that could have cost me my career (a herniated disc in spring training).

"I thought my own team would have backed me unless they don't give a . . . about me or my career. I ain't been no Cy Young Award winner, but I've put my time in. I just can't believe the club would take 10 days of pay.

"It makes me wonder what they have in mind. It puts doubt in my mind. It makes me wonder if I'll even be around."

Philadelphia President Bill Giles said the fine was justified because he doesn't condone any kind of illegal act and that this had left the Phillies without an important pitcher during an important phase of the season.

The issue is not likely to end with Tuesday's decisions, however.

The Major League Players Assn. promptly filed a grievance on Gross' behalf, claiming that Giamatti had misapplied the rules.

Giamatti, in his ruling Tuesday, said Gross violated rule 8.02 (b), which calls for immediate ejection if a pitcher has a foreign substance in his possession. The rule says nothing about a suspension. The union claims Giamatti was applying parts of rule 3.02, which calls for a 10-day suspension if a pitcher delivers a damaged baseball, though no damaged balls were removed from the Aug. 10 game.

The union also said it would file another grievance demanding that Gross be made a free agent if the club violates the standard contract by withholding his salary.

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