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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS | ST. LOUIS vs. NEW YORK : NOTES

Cardinals' Stephenson Is Finished for the Season

October 11, 2000|Times Wire Services

St. Louis Cardinal right-hander Garrett Stephenson will be sidelined the rest of the playoffs because of an elbow injury, Manager Tony La Russa said.

Stephenson, second on the Cardinals with 16 victories this season, left Game 3 of the National League division series at Atlanta on Saturday after 3 2/3 innings because of tightness in the elbow.

St. Louis won, 7-1, to complete a three-game sweep of the Braves and faces the New York Mets in the NLCS, beginning today.

"He will make his next appearance in spring training. He is out," La Russa said. "It is something about the ligament--sprained ligament. No way it would respond in the next two weeks, three weeks."

Stephenson finished the season 16-9 with a 4.49 earned-run average in 31 starts. He was one of five St. Louis starters to reach double figures in victories.

La Russa said he would wait until today to decide who will replace Stephenson on the roster. La Russa said it probably wouldn't be a pitcher.

*

After two years under La Russa, Mike Easler could be joining him in the managing ranks.

The Cardinals' batting coach interviewed for 2 1/2 hours over the weekend in Atlanta for the Pittsburgh Pirates' vacancy.

During the interview, the always bubbly Easler had a few questions for Pirate owner Kevin McClatchy and General Manager Cam Bonifay.

"I just asked them point blank: Is the city ready for my way of managing?" Easler said. "We need to get some energy. They just need some new life, people to communicate, and that's what I do."

The Pirates fired Gene Lamont, announcing the dismissal the day after Pittsburgh finished 69-93.

Easler, nicknamed "Hit Man" during his playing career, was with the Pirates from 1977-83.

"I love Pittsburgh," he said. "They have the natural talent, you've just got to bring out what's within. That's the difficult part of managing or coaching, you've got to dig deep."

*

Even though Mark McGwire probably will get only one at-bat--at most--per game, Met Manager Bobby Valentine isn't about to relax.

In fact, Valentine believes his job might be even harder with Big Mac looming as a pinch-hitter.

"It's a whole 'X' factor. It's a lot less predictable having him on the bench," Valentine said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he hits for [Will] Clark or Ray [Lankford] or [Fernando] Vina. He's not just another guy on the right hand of the column."

McGwire, slowed by tendinitis in his knee, can't play his usual first base. He homered as a pinch-hitter against Atlanta in the division series.

THE SERIES

Today: New York (Hampton 15-10) at St. Louis (Kile 20-9), 5:15 p.m.

Thursday: New York (Leiter 16-8) at St. Louis (Ankiel 11-7), 5:15 p.m.

Saturday: St. Louis (An.Benes 12-9) at New York (Reed 11-5), 1:15 p.m.

Sunday: St. Louis (Kile 20-9) at New York (B.J.Jones 11-6), 5 p.m.

Monday: St. Louis at New York, 5:15 p.m.*

Wednesday: New York at St. Louis, 1:15 p.m.*

Thu., Oct. 19: New York at St. Louis, 5:15 p.m.*

TV--Ch. 11; *--if necessary

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