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Baseball Miscellany

April 15, 1990|ROSS NEWHAN


* No-hitter update: All of the major leagues' last 11 no-hitters, including the Mark Langston-Mike Witt gem against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night, have been pitched in either April, when the pitchers are said to be ahead of the hitters, or in September, when expanded rosters include many rookies and other inexperienced players.

* Add Mariners: They were the only major league team never to have been involved in a no-hitter, and the performance by Langston, after the 7-0 shutout victory by another Angel left-hander, Chuck Finley, seemed to expose a Seattle vulnerability. Three of the Mariners' top hitters--Alvin Davis, Ken Griffey Jr. and Pete O'Brien--are left-handers who may have trouble against left-handed pitchers. In the three games against the Angels, they were a cumulative four for 14 against Finley, Langston and relief pitcher Scott Bailes.

* Assembly line: The New York Mets, in recent years, have traded six farm products with center-field experience or potential. They are Lenny Dykstra of the Philadelphia Phillies, Mookie Wilson of the Toronto Blue Jays, Herm Winningham of the Cincinnati Reds, Marvel Wynne of the Chicago Cubs, Stan Jefferson of the Baltimore Orioles and Shawn Abner of the San Diego Padres. Now, having dealt Juan Samuel to the Dodgers because of dissatisfaction with his play in center field and said to be already concerned with the play of ex-infielder Keith Miller, there is no longer a candidate in the system, and the Mets are reportedly pursuing Cecil Espy of Texas, benched after the Rangers acquired Gary Pettis.

* Mets II: By losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the New York opener, Dwight Gooden displayed a sub-.500 record for the first time in his career. In losing to Montreal, 6-5, Saturday, Gooden (0-2) was assured of being there awhile.

* Setback: Danny Tartabull has gone on the Kansas City Royals' 15-day disabled list with a torn calf muscle suffered while shagging fly balls before Tuesday's game. The right fielder was ticketed to bat fifth behind Bo Jackson after a .433 spring and a two-run homer on opening day. The Royals were 47-24 when Tartabull started last year, 45-46 when he didn't.

* Familiarity: When Kansas City's Mark Davis registered his first American League save Wednesday night against the Orioles, he wasn't dealing with strangers. The three batters he retired--Jefferson, Bob Melvin and Phil Bradley--are all former National Leaguers, with Jefferson and Melvin being former Davis teammates.

* Habit-forming: Fred Lynn's first American League hit as a 1974 Boston Red Sox rookie was a home run. His first National League hit as a member of the Padres was a home run off Orel Hershiser of the Dodgers Monday. "So what do you think people will be predicting when I go to Japan?" Lynn asked.

* Battery charge: The Oakland A's Bob Welch went 0-3 with a 17.73 earned-run average during the abbreviated spring and said he had been unable to forget the Bay Area earthquake that destroyed his Marina district home. In his first regular-season start, Welch allowed a leadoff homer to Dan Gladden, then pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings, gaining credit for a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins. The earthquake may have still been on his mind, but Welch was working with his personal batterymate, Ron Hassey, for the first time in 1990. Hassey caught 31 of Welch's 33 starts last year, when he was 17-8 overall and 16-7 in those 31 starts.

* Playing D: A's right fielder Jose Canseco made a key throw in that win by Welch, but it will take more to enhance his defensive reputation. "I can go without making an error for three consecutive years and not win the Gold Glove," Canseco told Bay Area reporters. "I made enough errors my first two years to last my career. I have to wear off the stamp on my head of All-Iron Hands."

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