McReynolds Apparently Won't Sign

Times Staff Writer

The left wrist Kevin McReynolds fractured during the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs is still a little tender when he swings a bat.

It's his other hand, however, that is a source of concern to the young Padre slugger and his agent, Tom Selakovich.

McReynolds still hasn't picked up a pen to sign a 1985 contract, and it appears he may not do so. The Padres have renewed his contract at a salary estimated at $165,000, but that's not to the liking of player or agent.

As proof that we're living in a video age, Selakovich issued a statement on videotape prior to Thursday's 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Seattle Mariners.

"Kevin's 1985 contract situation can not be resolved," Selakovich said. "It was (the Padres') prerogative to renew the salary under section 10A of baseball's collective bargaining agreement.

"The salary offered was not in line with what is being paid a number of second-year players . . . (General Manager) Jack McKeon had the ability to dictate Kevin's salary for the last two years, but for the next four years there will be a third party to decide the dispute."

In threatening to take the Padres to arbitration next year, Selakovich refused to answer questions from reporters and said the book is closed on this year's talks with the Padres.

That came as news to McKeon, who thought the negotiations would continue until at least April 1.

McKeon said he is still hopeful a new contract, either a one-year or a multi-year deal, could be worked out. A contract could be signed at any point during the season, he said.

"We offered a very fair deal," McKeon said. "I'm surprised to hear him say the negotiations are closed.

"I'm going to sit down now and think this over. I like to think that's the right way to negotiate--you try to make some headway, right? When you close the book, you back yourself into a corner."

McKeon's view is that Selakovich is off base in referring to the salary of other second-year players, such as the New York Mets' Darryl Strawberry, who has already enjoyed two years of 26 homers. McReynolds hit 20 last year in his first full season.

McReynolds, who is still recuperating from the fractured carpel navicular bone he suffered in the playoffs, declined to talk about the contractual impasse.

McReynolds was hitting the ball hard in batting practice as hitting coach Deacon Jones looked on.

"Buggy whip that bat, Kevin," Jones implored. "I wanna hear that terrible sound the pitchers hate. Turn it loose. Hurt that baseball."

McReynolds lined a shot toward left field that caused shortstop Mario Ramirez to dance out of the way. McReynolds laughed appreciatively.

"My wrist is a little tender, but it don't hurt," he said. "There's no pain, but I still can feel myself baby it when I swing. I'm not popping the bat through the zone."

McReynolds said he isn't consciously holding back, but he is aware that he isn't swinging just right. He expects the wrist to be completely well by the time the season starts next month.

"Tony Gwynn came back after breaking his wrist and won a batting title," McReynolds said. "I'd like to do that. I'd also like to drive in 100 runs."

McReynolds vowed not to let the unsettled state of his contract affect his play.

But he admitted he doesn't know how he will react when he has to slide for the first time this spring. He was hurt sliding into second trying to break up a double play against the Cubs.

"I always slid with my hands down for better balance," he said. "Now maybe I will keep my hands up, the way they teach you."

Starting pitcher Dave Dravecky worked three innings, allowing four runs and six hits against the Mariners. Goose Gossage pitched two scoreless innings. Rookie catcher Mark Parent hit a two-run homer in the ninth before the Mariners picked up a run in the 10th. Utilityman Tim Flannery was taken to a hospital for tests to determine if he had appendicitis after he complained of stomach cramps.

The Padres end their four-game tour of central Arizona with a game today against the Oakland A's. The probable pitchers include Andy Hawkins, Keefe Cato and Ed Wojna. The Padres will engage the California Angels this weekend in two games at Yuma. All hotel rooms in the city are sold out and only 900 general admission tickets are for sale for games Saturday and Sunday.

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