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Hunter May Have Lou Gehrig's Disease

BASEBALL NOTES

November 08, 1998|From Associated Press

Hall of Fame pitcher Catfish Hunter is in Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore for tests after experiencing difficulties with motor skills.

There are fears that Hunter may have Lou Gehrig's disease, amytrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive, ultimately fatal neurological condition, the New York Daily News reported Saturday. Gehrig died from the disease in 1941 at age 39.

"I've got no strength in my arms and my hands," Hunter told the News. "I can't do the routine things like button a shirt anymore."

Hunter has been unable to even toss a baseball. He won 224 games in a 15-year career and was the Cy Young Award winner in 1974.

"I first started to notice something was wrong last March when I was hunting," Hunter said. "I started having trouble doing things with my right arm."

Hunter, 52, saw doctors all summer with no conclusive diagnosis. Asked if doctors thought he might have ALS, he said, "Some say, 'Yes,' and some say, 'No.' That's why I'm going to Johns Hopkins now. They say it's the best place and I've got to find out what's wrong."

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Dick Pole was named pitching coach for the Angels, replacing Marcel Lachemann, who now oversees the organization's minor league clubs. Pole, 48, was bullpen coach for the Boston Red Sox during the 1998 season and was pitching coach for the San Francisco Giants from 1993-97.

The Angels also announced that six coaches from last season would return for 1999: hitting coach Rod Carew, bench coach Joe Maddon, third base coach Larry Bowa, first base coach George Hendrick, bullpen coach Joe Coleman and bullpen coordinator Mick Billmeyer.

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Manny Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians hit two home runs as a team of major league all-stars beat their Japanese counterparts, 8-1, at Tokyo in the first game of a seven-game exhibition series.

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