National League / Gordon Edes : Fernando Survives Interview With the Enquirer

Fernando Valenzuela in the National Enquirer? The possibilities are mind-boggling:

"Fernando's Secret Date With Linda Evans"

"The Fernando Diet: 'How I Lost 25 Pounds in Six Weeks on No-Cal Burritos' "

"The Truth About Fernando: 'I Rode With Pancho Villa in Another Life' "

Tony DeMarco, Valenzuela's agent, is the man who agreed to Valenzuela's interview with the Enquirer, which is not likely ever to be mistaken for the New York Times.

"I hope that I didn't make a mistake," DeMarco said by telephone from Los Angeles.

Well, the scandal-seekers will be disappointed. The Enquirer came and went last week, and Valenzuela's image remains intact.

"This is not an Enquirer expose, romance or diet," story editor Paul Levy said from the magazine's offices in Lantana, Fla.

What it is, he said, is a rags-to-riches story, one in a series the paper has done. That's not to be confused with the Enquirer's other series, "Success Without College," which has featured such people, Levy said, as the president of K mart.

"Basically, it's a human-interest story, an interesting feature," Levy said, adding that the paper has previously done profiles on golfer Lee Trevino and Detroit Tiger relief pitcher Willie Hernandez.

Rene Cardenas, a member of the Dodgers' Spanish-language broadcasting team, did the interpreting for Valenzuela during the interview. He said Fernando answered more than 50% of the questions in English, and most of them were innocuous.

"They did ask him if he was buying any wild cars," Cardenas said. "Fernando told them he had bought a Continental. 'I need a big car because I have a big family,' " he said.

So it goes. The real Fernando Valenzuela story, if there is one, will have to wait for another day.

Miscast: Chicago Cub third baseman Ron Cey spent the off-season making cameo appearances on various TV shows, including "E/R," "The Richard Pryor Show" and "Hardcastle and McCormick."

"But it's hard for me to find something else but baseball that I can devote full attention to now," Cey told the Chicago Tribune. " 'The Richard Pryor Show' was fun. And in the 'Hardcastle and McCormick' show, I ended up accepting a challenge from a guy who strikes me out.

"That wasn't so bad, but he had to be wearing a Dodger cap. That really hurt."

And you thought last season was bad: The Dodgers' .244 team batting average tied Cincinnati's for worst in the majors in 1984, but another Dodger team holds the record for worst in history. The 1908 Dodgers hit only .213, and their best hitter was first baseman Tim Jordan, who weighed in with a .247 average. Jordan did lead the league in home runs with 12.

Job-hunting: With Chili Davis, Jeff Leonard and Dan Gladden, .300 hitters all, ahead of him, Dusty Baker wonders whether there's a place for him with the San Francisco Giants.

"I am not a pinch-hitter or an extra wheel," said Baker, who was just that in an injury-plagued 1984 that limited him to 243 at-bats. He hit .292 with only three home runs and 32 runs batted in.

"I came here to impress," he said. "This is my first spring camp in a while where I haven't been broken down. I feel as good physically as I ever have. I've come to play."

Job found: The only rookie expected to make the New York Mets' roster is outfielder John Christensen, a former star at Cal State Fullerton.

"I made a good decision when I went to college," Christensen said. "The Angels drafted me out of high school but across the street from where I live is one of the best colleges in the country for baseball."

Christensen, drafted No. 2 by the Mets in 1981, hit .316 with 15 home runs last season with the Mets' Tidewater farm team. He is being looked upon as the Mets' fifth outfielder. "I hate to use him in that role, but he looks like he can handle it," Met Manager Davey Johnson said.

A cinch for the all-name team: Montreal rookie Razor Shines, a switch-hitter who played 12 games for the Expos last season after hitting .282 with 18 home runs at Indianapolis.

Runner-up: Trench Davis, a rookie outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates who hit .259 in Hawaii in 1984.

Peril in Pittsburgh: Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough reports that a federal grand jury investigation into a Pittsburgh drug case could implicate as many as 15 past and present Pirates and other National Leaguers.

The investigation, which began last summer, has centered on a local restaurant frequented by Pirate players. The drug dealers being investigated allegedly did much of their business there. Three players--Rod Scurry and Lee Mazzilli of the Pirates and ex-Pirate Dale Berra, now with the Yankees--reportedly have testified before the grand jury. More are expected to be subpoenaed.

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