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AROUND THE NATIONAL LEAGUE

Winfield Opts to Cap Career as a Padre

August 05, 2001|Mike DiGiovanna

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Though Dave Winfield played for six teams and played more seasons--and gained greater acclaim and notoriety--for the New York Yankees than the San Diego Padres, he will wear a Padre cap when he's inducted into the Hall of Fame today.

Winfield dismisses media speculation that the Padres paid him to wear their cap or that the Yankees declined to pay him to wear theirs. "When they make up stuff like that, it reminded me of my time in New York," Winfield said.

Since Winfield retired five years ago, Padre owner John Moores and President Larry Lucchino have welcomed him back to the organization. Winfield accepted a volunteer position on the Padres' board of directors last year.

And, Winfield said, he wants to celebrate the team with which he made his major league debut and played eight seasons, a team that has never had its cap on a Cooperstown plaque.

"I'm always going to be remembered as a Yankee, and I like that too," Winfield said. "When you look in the Hall of Fame, I'll be next to Joe D. and Yogi and Reggie and everyone. But there's something to be said for being the first one with a San Diego Padre hat."

Shouldn't that honor belong to Tony Gwynn? Winfield fled San Diego for the riches of free agency and the lure of winning with the Yankees. Gwynn arrived in San Diego in 1982, won eight batting titles and never left.

"Tony knows I played there long before him, and he's absolutely a hall of famer when it's his turn," Winfield said. "He's been really great about it, and that's appreciated."

Angel Manager Mike Scioscia wouldn't condone or condemn Brewer Manager Davey Lopes for his actions in last Sunday's game against the Padres, when Lopes threatened to "drill" Rickey Henderson in his next at-bat after Henderson stole second with a 12-5 lead in the seventh inning.

But Scioscia believes baseball's unwritten codes of etiquette regarding running up the score are archaic.

"It used to be if you had a five-run lead in the fifth you wouldn't steal any more, but a lot of that is outdated," Scioscia said. "A five-run lead today might equate to a two-run lead years ago because of the offensive firepower in the game. What constitutes showing a team up needs to be redefined a bit.

"If you have a huge lead in the eighth or ninth, you want to quiet things down, but let's say you're in Wrigley Field, it's 12-5 in the seventh and the wind is blowing out. Teams can put crooked numbers up there like they're eating M&Ms.

"If you have a five-run lead in the sixth inning, that game is not, as Chick Hearn would say, in the refrigerator. Your closer or setup guy might need the day off, and you want an extra run or two to give that middle reliever more of a cushion."

Arizona Manager Bob Brenly is not about to pull a Gene Mauch and go to a two-man rotation, but the Diamondbacks have some major pitching problems beyond baseball's best one-two punch of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

Newly acquired right-hander Albie Lopez was bombed in his Arizona debut on July 28, giving up seven runs on 10 hits, including two home runs, in a loss to San Francisco, though he did rebound to limit Montreal to one run and five hits in eight innings of Thursday's 1-0 loss.

Left-hander Brian Anderson was shelled in his last two starts, including a three-inning, six-run effort against Montreal Wednesday. Anderson also was rocked for eight runs and nine hits, three of them homers, by the Giants on July 27 and is 3-8 with a 5.12 earned-run average.

"There's not a person in this locker room, in the stands or in the front office more disgusted about me than I am," Anderson said after Wednesday's game. "I feel bad having to come in here, facing my teammates, knowing what I did tonight."

Former Angel batting instructor Rod Carew routinely stayed up until 4 a.m. watching videotape in an effort to help struggling hitters. Wonder how much Visine he has gone through as Milwaukee's batting instructor this season?

Through Thursday, the Brewers had lost 26 of 34 games. They went 6-20 in July, the worst month in franchise history and one in which Milwaukee had a .232 batting average, .283 on-base percentage, scored 91 runs and had 219 strikeouts and 53 walks. With 900 strikeouts, the Brewers are on pace to shatter the major league record of 1,268, set by Detroit in 1996.

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