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Gibson Returns, Isn't Amused : Orosco Apologizes After Admitting He Blackened Cap

March 05, 1988|SAM McMANIS | Times Staff Writer

Said Orosco: "I do feel bad, but this has happened before. When I was with the (New York) Mets, (Bob) Ojeda and (Kevin) Mitchell almost went at it. Mitchell had done something to Ojeda, and Ojeda took these brand-new shoes that Mitchell had and cut them up. They got a little angry over it and almost had a fight.

"It did backfire. I wasn't trying to do anything to get him mad. I'm not stupid. If he gets back at me, fine. I deserve it. If you know a guy doesn't like something, then you don't do anything to him."

The Dodgers have a long tradition of pranks, the most dedicated recent jokers having been Jay Johnstone, Jerry Reuss and, now, Mickey Hatcher.

"I've had pranks explode," Lasorda said.

But to such an extent?

"Not to that extent," Lasorda said.

Said Hatcher, an artist when it comes to pranks: "You have to know how the guy will react before you do it. I don't want Gibson mad at us or wish he didn't come here. He's a veteran. He's a very serious competitor. Whoever did it should have known better."

Gibson said he will not change his personaity to suit his teammates. In Detroit, Gibson was known as a player who occasionally would pull pranks but never liked to have them pulled against him.

When he was a rookie with the Tigers, Gibson was getting a rubdown on a table in the trainer's room when veteran pitcher Jack Billingham started teasing him. Gibson attacked Billingham, pinning him against a wall.

Gibson also has a history as a practical joker. Detroit reporters recall the time in spring training when Gibson pulled a chair out from under pitcher Dave Rozema, Gibson's best friend, when Rozema tried to sit. A bottle Rozema held shattered. And Alan Trammell once required stitches after one of Gibson's pranks.

"That's fine," Gibson said when told that Dodger teams traditionally include several pranksters. "I don't care what they do. I just don't want them to do it to me, and I won't do it to them. I can get along fine with the people who do it.

"But it's just my personality that I can't play pranks and get along well with people."

Dodger Notes

Manager Tom Lasorda met with Pedro Guerrero Friday and talked about the possibility of Guerrero's switching from first base to third base, replacing either Jeff Hamilton or Steve Sax. "His reaction was that he listened," Lasorda said. "He didn't say anything. I haven't made a decision on it and I don't know anything yet. I don't think I have to come to a decision right now. If he were playing the outfield and then had to go to third, it would be more of an adjustment. But ground balls at third and first are the same." . . . Hamilton started at third base Friday (with Guerrero at first) and went 2 for 3.

It was not a good debut for either Kirk Gibson or Jesse Orosco in the Dodgers' 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins Friday afternoon. Gibson went 0 for 2, striking out in the sixth inning with a runner on third base. Gibson also was subjected to taunts from fans who had heard of his reaction to the clubhouse prank Thursday. Orosco wasted a 4-2 Dodger lead in the seventh and eighth innings, giving up three runs and four hits. Said Orosco, who said he felt no pain in his left elbow and shoulder: "I didn't expect anything today or for a week. I've only thrown the ball six or seven times. When it gets to 11 or 12 times throwing, I'll be all right."

Orosco had problems with his change-up and control of his fastball. "I just think I might have let up on some pitches and tried to aim the ball, not follow through," Orosco said. Pitching coach Ron Perranoski said: "It was the first time he's pitched, so I'm not concerned one damn bit." . . . Orel Hershiser pitched three scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out two. . . . Reliever Tim Crews pitched a scoreless 10th inning and got the win when Mickey Hatcher singled in Dave Anderson with the game-winning run.

Non-roster player Rick Dempsey improved his bid to unseat Alex Trevino as the Dodgers' backup catcher by hitting a seventh-inning home run. Dempsey was released by Cleveland last winter after hitting .177 and being bothered most of the season by injuries and health problems. "Last year, I dropped 15 pounds and felt really weak and I don't know why," Dempsey said. "Also, I just didn't hit the ball well. Now, I've got everything positive working for me. I'm stronger, feel better."

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