The news of Pedro Guerrero’s injury spread quickly to other spring training camps in Florida and Southern California Thursday. The general feeling among players and coaches was that while there is little doubt Guerrero’s absence will be felt, the Dodgers’ superior pitching will still be enough to make the team the division favorite.
The loss of Guerrero for an extended period, however, does affect the prospects of each major contender in the National League West--the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. Here is a sampling of their thoughts on the matter:
Pete Rose, Reds: “I don’t like to see that happen to anybody, especially star players. When something like that happens to star players, it affects the game. It’s about the same as if something happened to (Dave) Parker.
“I liked our chances before Guerrero got hurt. I want to win, but I want to win not because Guerrero got hurt. I’m sure Tommy Lasorda wouldn’t want anything to happen to Dave Parker.
“We still have to do a job, but this could make it easier.”
Mario Soto, Reds: “It’s going to hurt them bad, no doubt about it. It will be hard to replace him. Even if they find a guy who will hit like crazy, it’s going to be hard for them. . . . I don’t care how good their minor league system is.”
Dave Parker, Reds: “I feel we matched up well with them (the Dodgers) with Guerrero being healthy. I think now if we do win it, it’s going to take away from it. If we beat them out, they can say we beat them without Pedro.”
Chuck Tanner, Braves: “I don’t care about that (the effect on the race), I just care about the person. But they (the Dodgers) still do have the pitching.”
Rafael Ramirez, Braves: “Right now, I don’t think about winning or losing, because Pedro is really a close friend. We’re from the same hometown. I worry about what’s wrong with him. I don’t care if they win and we lose, as long as he is able to play good and be healthy.”
Tony Gwynn, Padres: “I don’t think it will affect them too much. Their talent is deep enough to where they can stand the loss of him for a while. They were without him for a while last year and didn’t seem to struggle too much. They have guys like (Mike) Marshall, (Bill) Madlock and (Greg) Brock who can hit the ball out of the park.
“When you play the Dodgers without him, you know it will still be a battle. I think the rest of the teams have to feel that without Guerrero, a lot of teams are just as good if not better than the Dodgers. My opinion is that it won’t affect them much because their pitching is so good.”
Steve Garvey, Padres: “As a friend of Pete’s, I feel for him personally. I know he’ll do everything to come back. A significant part of their offense has been hurt. There’s a possibility their pitching can carry them over the long haul.”
Jerry Royster, Padres: “They’ll miss him, for sure. I thought he was the best offensive player in the league last year. Believe me, they’ll still be fine. This doesn’t make them the third-best team in the league by any means because they still have the pitching. On paper, I’d say they have the best team going in. This sure makes things better for the rest of us.”
Steve Boros, Padres: “Obviously, he’s very valuable to that ballclub and will be difficult to replace. The Dodgers are a very talented team, and this certainly will hurt them. It may unite them as a ballclub in that they know they have to dig down and give a little extra. They still have a club to be reckoned with. Their pitching will see to that. I always thought we would be in the race. Some others might not have thought that. Now, I think others will view us as a club to be reckoned with.”