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Inside Pitch Wasn't a Sign

May 01, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The Angels said it was an accident and thought the Red Sox overreacted, but Boston first baseman Mo Vaughn thought there was a little more of a message behind Shigetoshi Hasegawa's eighth-inning, 0-2 pitch that hit Red Sox left fielder Wil Cordero in the leg Wednesday night.

"They felt we were stealing [the catcher's] signs, and we don't do that," Vaughn said after Boston's 11-2 victory. "If [Cordero] got drilled for that, that's wrong. We just had a good night, not because we were stealing signs. If they think that, that's bull . . . "

Both benches emptied after the incident and no punches were exchanged, but Vaughn said an unidentified Angel player made the accusation that the Red Sox were stealing signs during the fracas.

"If I thought that was going on, that's not what we would have done about it," Manager Terry Collins said. "There was no one on [when Cordero got hit,] there were two out, and it was an 0-2 pitch. That's hardly the time to retaliate."

Did Collins think the Red Sox were stealing signs?

"I don't think I'm at liberty to say anything about that," he said. "No. 1, we don't know if they were. It's paranoia by someone that I don't think is necessarily there, and if it was, it had nothing to do with Cordero getting hit."

It's legal for runners on second base to relay signs to teammates in the batter's box, but the practice is frowned on in baseball.

"I heard it mentioned in the scuffle," Collins said, "but if we're going to retaliate for that, we're going to do it at the right time."


If the sun continues to shine in Boston today, first baseman and leadoff batter Darin Erstad, who has sat out the last five games because of a strained right hamstring, probably will return to the lineup, Collins said.

"If it doesn't rain, there's a good chance he'll play," Collins said. "But it's supposed to rain, and if the field is slick, we'll probably hold him out for another day."

Erstad took batting practice and ran the bases Wednesday, going from first to third and working on leads and going back to bases, but he said he "didn't really open it up." He'll try to run full speed before today's game.

"I'm still holding back a bit," said Erstad, who had never had a hamstring injury. "It's something you don't know how to handle. You don't know how far to push it. You have to be patient, but I feel I'm pretty close."


Collins juggled his lineup Wednesday, moving Luis Alicea to the leadoff spot, Jim Edmonds from first base to center field, Dave Hollins from third to first (where he hadn't played since 1995), Jim Leyritz from catcher to designated hitter, Jorge Fabregas to catcher and George Arias to third. "I wanted to get George a game, and I wanted to keep Hollins' and Leyritz's bats in the lineup, but Hollins hates DH-ing," Collins said. "I wrote about four different lineups and came up with this one." . . . Hasegawa will donate an autographed hat to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to commemorate the first American League victory by a Japanese player. . . . Shortstop Gary DiSarcina has five hits in his last 46 at-bats, his average falling from .341 on April 13 to .226 Wednesday.




Fenway Park, Boston, 3 p.m. PDT

Radio--KTZN (710)

* Update--Finley finally appears to be rounding into form after sitting out several weeks of spring training and the first two weeks of the season because of shoulder tendinitis and a broken facial bone. The left-hander gave up one run in eight innings against Detroit in his last start, suffering a 2-0 loss Saturday. Gordon, a right-hander, seems to be paying the price for his 12-9 record in 1996, which he achieved despite having the league's second-highest earned-run average, 5.59--the Red Sox have scored no runs while he was in the game in three of his five starts this season.

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