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Joyner Comes Off Bench in Sixth and Goes 2 for 2, but Spark Is Lost on Angels

May 25, 1988|ROSS NEWHAN | Times Staff Writer

Wally Joyner opened the game Tuesday night on the bench, his manager hoping that a night off would relieve the first baseman's psyche and restore the missing power.

Mark McLemore also opened the game on the bench, his doctor hoping that the night off would relieve the pain in the second baseman's right elbow and restore the feeling in his right hand.

With center fielder Devon White already on the disabled list, Manager Cookie Rojas shook his head and said:

"When you lose McLemore and White, you lose a lot of defense and speed. There's only so much we can do. I have a rifle but no bullets. I can't kill no birds."

There was mounting evidence that the Angels might not even get off a shot.

They failed to get a hit over the first 5 innings of another exercise in futility, losing to the New York Yankees, 5-3.

A three-run rally in the eighth provided a measure of respectability but failed to prevent the Angels from falling 11 games under .500 and 13 1/2 games behind the Oakland A's in the American League West.

Al Leiter, the 22-year-old Yankee rookie, yielded six walks before leaving in the eighth but improved his record to 4-2 by allowing only one hit before the Angels got five more off Steve Shields and Dave Righetti, who ultimately registered his ninth save.

Angel starter and loser Kirk McCaskill (2-4) allowed all nine New York hits, including home runs by Don Mattingly and Jack Clark and a double by Dave Winfield that lifted Winfield's league-leading runs batted in total to 40 in 43 games.

McCaskill pitched seven innings and was replaced by Ray Krawzyck, who pitched a perfect eighth and was rewarded with a trip to the triple-A Edmonton club when the game ended.

The Angels announced that Krawzyck's bullpen seat would be taken by Sherman Corbett, recalled from Midland, Tex., where he was 3-2 with 2 saves.

The move did nothing to bolster the Angels' bench or alleviate the anemia in the attack.

In fact, as Rojas' woes mounted, the most reliable Angel hitter, Johnny Ray, was forced to leave Tuesday night's game in the sixth inning after his left elbow was bruised by a Leiter pitch in the fourth.

The injury was not believed to be serious, and Ray is on a day-to-day basis, as is McLemore, who underwent extensive testing for the discomfort in his elbow and numbness in his hand.

Dr. Lewis Yocum said there was evidence of nerve irritation in the elbow but no indication that McLemore would require surgery or had sustained ulnar nerve damage. Yocum said he had changed McLemore's medication and exercise regimen and advised Rojas that his second baseman would be available only as a pinch-runner Tuesday night.

Joyner was available for more, though Rojas had hoped he wouldn't have to call on him.

Joyner went to the bench with 2 home runs for the season and none since May 1. He had 3 RBIs in his last 13 games.

"It's not a shakeup. I'm only trying to improve performance," Rojas said of the move before the game. "I want to give Wally the day off. Maybe if he forgets about hitting, he can get his mind on the right track.

"I'm concerned and I think he's concerned, too. He hasn't been swinging like he can. He's been (over)anxious, pressing. He's our big guy and he's got only 14 RBIs. I can only hope he does what (Brian) Downing did . . . struggle for awhile, then find himself."

Joyner found himself in the game in the sixth inning, batting in the spot vacated by Ray. Leiter still had his no-hitter, and a crowd of 32,805 at Anaheim Stadium seemed to be warming to his bid when Joyner lined a single to center to shelve it.

Joyner got another single in the eighth, when Leiter left after yielding a leadoff walk to Chico Walker.

Shields then permitted three singles before Righetti was summoned and eventually got Tony Armas to ground into a double play with the tying run on base.

"We're trying to see if we can get help somewhere," Rojas said of his attack. "In the meantime, the guys here have got to do the job, and they're not."

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