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BASEBALL EXTRA / INTERLEAGUE PLAY | AROUND THE NL

Riggleman Peeved by All the Interplay

June 15, 1997|ROSS NEWHAN

SEATTLE — Tony Phillips of the Angels and Rickey Henderson of the San Diego Padres were running sprints on the outfield grass, loosening up before Thursday's interleague opener at Anaheim Stadium. The former Oakland Athletic teammates embraced warmly as their paths crossed behind second base, where they chatted briefly.

A touching reunion benefit of the innovative June schedule?

Chicago Cub Manager Jim Riggleman would describe it another way.

"There already is too much fraternizing going on as it is in baseball," Riggleman was saying before the Cubs opened a weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers at sold-out Wrigley Field.

"Now that players see guys from the other league, there may be a temptation to say, 'We see them less, so we'll talk to them more,' " Riggleman said.

"That's a pet peeve of mine. You're trying to beat the other club. I don't like all the glad-handing before games. You don't see football players doing that 15 minutes before their games."

Then again, football is a violent game played once a week by teams that generally see each other only once a year, if that.

In the meantime: three Chicago sellouts for the anonymous Brewers?

"That's because a lot of our Cheeseheads are making the drive down," Brewer owner Bud Selig said.

*

The weekend interleague schedule spawned the first meaningful matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays since the 1993 World Series.

"That was long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away," Philadelphia pitcher Curt Schilling said.

Indeed.

The Phillies went into the weekend with an unworldly 272 losses since '93. Only the Detroit Tigers had lost more.

*

The injuries that have riddled Colorado's rotation have been compounded by the ineffectiveness of Kevin Ritz, who won 17 games last season and signed a three-year, $9-million contract during the winter.

Ritz faces Oakland today with a 5-5 record and 6.10 earned-run average, having given up 114 hits in 82 2/3 innings.

"I think he's not working as hard as he used to," pitching coach Frank Funk said. "That's plain and simple. He doesn't run as much as he used to and he's not conditioning himself as much as he used to. I'm disappointed with the effort he's putting into the situation."

*

The San Diego Padres used the disabled list only eight times while winning the West last year. They already have used it 16 times in 1997, the rash of injuries coming in what has been Tony Gwynn's healthiest season--as reflected by his .400-plus average and consistent run production.

"I just want us to battle back and get in the race," Gwynn said in Anaheim. "People lose sight of what the goal is, and it's not to hit .400.

"At the same time, in the course of playing, you do what you've got to do. It's not that I'm trying to hit .400 or win a batting title. I'm not being selfish. . . . I'm trying to win."

*

Difficult to believe, but Jim Leyland had never managed a game in which his pitcher threw a no-hitter.

That was before his Florida ace, Kevin Brown, did it against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, but as Leyland said:

"I didn't have anything to do with it. Anybody can spell Brown. I put him in the ninth spot [on the lineup card] and put a one [the position] by his name. My mom can do that."

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