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NO FIST IN HIS GLOVE : Joey Cora Doesn't Want to Fight; He Wants a Chance

March 09, 1989|BILL PLASCHKE | Times Staff Writer

"But it doesn't matter, because whenever we talked, he talked, I didn't talk," Cora said. "I will talk to him if I ever get a chance. I just don't know what I'd say."

He does know he wouldn't curse him or berate him or get any ideas about taking a swing at him.

"You got to understand," Cora said. "I don't even hate the guy who stabbed me."

Many remember the incident in 1986 when Cora, playing for double-A Beaumont, was stabbed in the stomach during a parking lot fight outside the stadium in San Antonio. The fight started because some thugs were messing with the team bus. There was much written about it and about Cora's eight-week recovery from ensuing surgery and how he made the big leagues the following year in spite of that.

What may have been lost in the fuss, though, was that on that night in San Antonio, Cora decided he would never fight again.

"That taught me a good lesson about minding your own business and keeping a low profile," Cora said. "That really affected me for a long time. I see Stanley Jefferson fighting with Larry Bowa the next year and I think, forget it, I fight no guys, I just do what they tell me."

So here he sits, perhaps good enough to start another big league season with someone but wondering if maybe one chance isn't all you ever get.

"Hey, so maybe he came up before he should have, he's still so young," Manager Jack McKeon said. "How many years has he been in triple-A, not even two? He should ask some other guys around here about playing in the minor leagues.

"I'm not worried about Joey. We've got time to do a lot of things with him."

And when he does get another chance, and the manager happens to be someone like Larry Bowa?

"I don't know what I'd do," Cora said evenly. "Just hope that doesn't happen."

Padre Notes

Pitcher Ed Whitson was rocked for five runs on six hits in four innings of Wednesday's 8-6 loss to San Francisco. This included back-to-back homers by Kevin Mitchell and Candy Maldonado. But Whitson said he felt fine and had no numbness in fingers, something that bothered him last season. "The trainers thumb out (massage) the nerves in my arm before I go out there, and I am fine," Whitson said. "The problem today was just a couple of pitches that got away." . . . A real problem for the Padres appears to be the left side of their infield, which committed two more errors Wednesday (Carlos Baerga, Mike Brumley) to give that side 10 errors in six games. "That's not getting by me," said Manager Jack McKeon, who will increase his efforts this week to find a power-hitting third baseman and may still settle on Seattle's Jim Presley if others are included in the deal. For the record, shortstop Brumley has committed three errors, shortstop Gary Green has committed two errors, shortstop Garry Templeton has committed one error. Third baseman Randy Ready has committed three errors, and Baerga blew his first one Wednesday. . . . The ones most effected by this are Brumley and Green, who are fighting for the backup shortstop job. Brumley entered camp as a virtual lock; Green wasn't even invited until the last minute. But now the race seems to be even, and McKeon wants to take the one with the best defense, which right now is Green. "I'm not making a choice, but I'd like to have a defensive player there," McKeon said. . . . McKeon said his regulars will begin playing as a unit Sunday in Mesa against the Chicago Cubs. By the time the club returns to Yuma at the end of next week, he said, the regulars would play two out of every three games.

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