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MORNING BRIEFING

Dravecky Enjoys Life Out of the Fast(ball) Lane

February 19, 1990|GARR KLUENDER

Former San Francisco Giant pitcher Dave Dravecky, who awed the sports world by coming back from cancer surgery on his pitching arm last season, says he has no regrets about baseball.

"When I'm signing pictures of me pitching, I don't say, 'Oh, gosh. I wish I could still do that,' " Dravecky told the San Francisco Examiner from his home in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, where he is recovering from surgery three weeks ago to remove a second tumor from his pitching arm.

"It's behind me. This is a new phase, a new beginning."

Dravecky, 34, pitched for the San Diego Padres from 1982 to 1987, compiling a career-best 14-10 record with a 3.58 earned-run average in his first full season in 1983. He pitched two scoreless innings in the All-Star game that summer, and was 13-11 for the Padres in 1985.

He was traded to the Giants in July of 1987, and won seven games down the stretch as San Francisco took the National League West title. He gave up one run in 25 2/3 innings of postseason action as the Giants lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.

On Opening Day of the 1988 season, Dravecky pitched a three-hit victory against the eventual World Series champion Dodgers. But a partially detached biceps tendon limited him to seven appearances for the season and a malignant tumor was found in the deltoid muscle near his left shoulder in September. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor in October.

Few expected him to pitch again. But he returned to Candlestick Park with the Giants Aug. 10, receiving eight standing ovations while pitching a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

He started five days later against the Expos in Montreal, pitching well until the sixth inning--when he collapsed on the mound after his upper arm snapped where the bone had been weakened by cancer treatments. Doctors soon found a second tumor, and Dravecky announced his retirement.

"The arm is moving well, taking into consideration there is no deltoid," Dravecky said. "I can get the arm over my head, rotate it in a circle and do pretty much what I want. The only thing I can't do is get my wallet out of my pocket."

The Pete Rose watch: Rose told Ron Higgins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal that solving his personal problems are his first priority. "I'm not anxious to get back on the field as a baseball person," Rose said. "It's not the utmost thing in my mind. I can't say that I'm going to apply for reinstatement Aug. 24 because the timing might not be right.

"Right now, my priority is taking care of some of the problems I've had. That's more important than worrying whether I'll manage again. That might change. A year and a half from now, if a guy offers me $1.5 million to manage a team, what am I going to say to him, 'Go to hell?' "

Add baseball: Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale, in his new book "Once a Bum, Always a Dodger:" "The war of 1990 might be the bloodiest yet. If the players stay away, or they get locked out, I wouldn't be surprised to see owners bring up all their minor leaguers and stage the games anyway."

Trivia time: On Feb. 19, 1947, who scored five goals for the Montreal Canadiens in a 10-2 rout of the New York Rangers?

No fuss, no muss: Sixteen of Fairleigh Dickinson's 22 basketball games have been decided in the final minute. Said Coach Tom Green: "We have five games left. I think we're going to call all of our opponents and all the officials and have them show up at 9 o'clock. We'll give them a one-point lead, put one minute on the clock and go from there. Think of how much easier things will be."

It doesn't make perfect: The Boston Celtics' Larry Bird is making only about 45% of his shots, a career low. Bird, who often arrives three hours early for a game to practice, said: "The only difference is that I make them when there's nobody guarding me. Then I come out here and someone's guarding me, and I can't make them."

Trivia answer: Bernie Geoffrion.

Quotebook: Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox, on straightening out his life after his affair with Margo Adams: "If I lived any cleaner of a life than I do now, I'd be a monk."

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