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Trachsel Experiencing A Lot of Excitement in Iowa

August 30, 1993|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The triple-A Iowa Cubs had one game canceled this season because of a tornado and another canceled because a fire at a nearby printing plant was spewing toxic fumes.

"Three weeks ago an umpire broke his arm on a foul ball and the game almost had to be canceled," said Iowa pitcher Steve Trachsel, a former standout at Troy High School, Fullerton College and Cal State Long Beach. "It's been a wild year. I've just about seen it all."

Trachsel didn't see the worst of it, though. While flood waters raged through Des Moines in June, Trachsel and his teammates were on a two-week road trip.

"It was weird because we'd hear rumors that a dam was ready to break and if it did, the city would be flooded," Trachsel said. "We'd call home, and all the wives would say that wasn't true. We were in a bar in Buffalo and ESPN showed a picture of our stadium, and the entire place was under water.

"We were all speechless. We figured we'd have to play on the road the rest of the year and it would be hell. But they called in the federal troops, and two or three days later it was cleaned up. We got back and the field was ready."

It has been an odd season in Des Moines. But it has been a good season, too, for the Cubs and Trachsel. Iowa leads the American Assn. Western Division going into the final week of the season, and Trachsel has had a major hand in the team's success.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound right-hander is 11-6 with a 4.33 earned-run average, 124 strikeouts and 38 walks in 153 2/3 innings. Trachsel, who helped Troy win the 1987 Southern Section 3-A title and Long Beach reach the 1991 College World Series, hopes to earn a September call-up to the major leagues.

"That would be a great way to finish off a good year," Trachsel said. "I think I've put up the numbers to deserve it. If I do, it will be great because the Cubs close the season at Los Angeles (Sept. 27-29) and San Diego (Oct. 1-3), and I could see all my friends. I'm keeping my fingers crossed."


Beantown: Larry Sutton, who played at Mater Dei High and Illinois, may not be having a spectacular season for the Rockford (Ill.) Royals, Kansas City's Class-A team in the Midwest League. The first baseman is batting .270 with 23 doubles, seven homers and 48 RBIs.

But after getting beaned by a 90-m.p.h. fastball in June, Sutton is glad to be having a season. Appleton (Wis.) left-hander Shawn Estes nailed Sutton in the side of the head, rendering him unconscious and sending him to the hospital.

Sutton, who was wearing a batting helmet, was diagnosed as having a concussion. He tried to return to the lineup within a week, but dizzy spells sent him back to the bench, and Sutton wound up sitting out a month.

"There was some fear against lefties, and it was tough hitting a curve," Sutton said upon his return. "I wasn't really progressing, so I talked to the coach, and he kept me out of the lineup until things got better."

Sutton apparently has made a full recovery, hitting at a .450 clip for the first three weeks of August. He even went three for three against Estes in his first appearance against the lefty since the beaning.

"If you're gonna get hit, you're gonna get hit," Sutton said. "You can't let it stay in your mind because it will tear you up for the rest of the year, and maybe your career."


Rockford files: Sutton and former Cal State Fullerton second baseman Steve Sisco lived together during their first pro season at Class-A Eugene, Ore., in 1992, and they're roommates again this season at Rockford.

The two hope to room together all the way up to Kansas City.

"That's the plan--we joke about it all the time," Sutton said. "We knew each other in college, we're the same type of players. We go to the park early and work out. It really works out great."

Sisco is all for that plan, as long as it means getting out of Rockford. He's not crazy about Midwest weather--Rockford had several games snowed out at Madison, Wis., in April, and the team has had some 20 rainouts this season.

He's also not likely to serve on the Rockford Chamber of Commerce any time soon. In a poll listing the top 300 U.S. cities to live in, Rockford finished dead last.

"To me it's right on," said Sisco, who is batting .285 with 20 doubles, 55 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. "The economy is not very good and we don't get many fans. The stadium is in a real bad part of town. Police cars and fire engines go back and forth every night."


Ole: Phil Nevin of the triple-A Tucson Toros has enhanced his chances of a September call-up by the Houston Astros, going on a six-week tear that raised his average 47 points.

Nevin, the former El Dorado High and Cal State Fullerton standout who was the No. 1 pick in the 1992 draft, was batting .246 on July 10. But a 51-for-130 clip (.392) bumped his average up to .293 last Monday.

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