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Names And Numbers

May 23, 1993

* PRICE OF STRAW: The $8.750-million that Darryl Strawberry received in salary and bonus during his first two years with the Dodgers equated to $265,152 per home run and $70,565 per run batted in.

When he was put on the disabled list, Strawberry was on a 1993 pace to hit 19 homers and drive in 49 runs. At his '93 salary of $3.5 million, that's $184,211 per homer, $71,429 per RBI and about $21,605 per infrequent at-bat.

* UPDATE: Despite an 11th-hour bid by CBS, baseball owners are expected to approve the proposed partnership with NBC and ABC during yet another meeting in Chicago on Friday. The TV package requires approval in each league. A 60-page fax providing more details on the NBC-ABC deal was sent to each club last Wednesday.

* DEMOTED: Mark Gubicza, who had made 184 consecutive starts before pitching in relief on May 11, has been dropped from the Kansas City Royals' rotation in favor of Chris Haney, recalled from Omaha the other day with a 6-1 record. Gubicza, who did not pitch after the All-Star break last year because of shoulder problems, was 0-4 with a 6.55 earned-run average in six starts.

"I'll do anything to help the team, but I still consider myself a starter," he said.

* METRODOOM: The Minnesota Twins cut Bert Blyleven in spring training, but may wish they had him back. The Twins have given up 10 runs or more in 11 of 40 games. Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson, the top two starters, have ERAs of 6.16 and 6.59, respectively, and the team ERA of 5.68 is the highest since the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961.

"The pitching stinks," said Manager Tom Kelly, overlooking bargain buy Jim Deshaies, who is 5-2, and Rick Aguilera, who is 12 for 12 in save opportunities.

* CONSISTENCY: Mike Mussina has pitched five or more innings in 48 of his first 51 starts, the best such debut in the pitching-rich history of the Baltimore Orioles, and the best in the majors since Fernando Valenzuela went five or more in his first 60 starts for the Dodgers, in 1981 and '82.

* IS IT RELATIVE? Cal Ripken Jr., batting .214, may miss his father, Cal Sr., and brother, Billy, more than he or the Orioles could have suspected. Ripken has seven home runs in 456 at-bats since the '92 All-Star game.

Said his faithful Manager, John Oates: "Cal may be at a point in his career where he isn't going to hit home runs, but with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, he's still the player I want up there."

* ADD RIPKEN: There are those who continue to suggest that the playing streak is taking a physical and mental toll on the Baltimore shortstop. Ripken has played in 1,776 consecutive games. The second-longest active streak belongs to Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros, who played in his 200th consecutive game Tuesday, leaving him almost 10 years behind Ripken.

* UNDEFEATED: John Burkett, who will try to go 8-0 today when he starts for the Giants against the Cincinnati Reds, is closing in on the best start in San Francisco history, Juan Marichal's 10-0 in 1966.

Burkett isn't letting it go to his head. He was 5-1 last year when he lost his next four decisions. And anyway, it's his hitting that has him more excited. He was one for 55 (.018) last year, but is already three for 22 (.136).

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