Wynne Homered His Way Into Center Field, but Just for a Game

Times Staff Writer

Marvell Wynne didn’t win the center-field job.

It was just his for the day.

Partially because of Carmelo Martinez’s sore knee and mainly because Wynne hit two home runs during Sunday’s 7-6 Padre victory over the Reds, Wynne started Monday night’s game in center. And Kevin McReynolds, the regular center fielder, moved to left in place of Martinez.

Just for a day.

“I went to his (Martinez’s) locker and told him I was resting him today,” Manager Steve Boros said. “I told him he’d be in there tomorrow (today) and the next day, but that I knew his knee was tender. He said: ‘Well, that’s fine. But I want you to know the knee’s OK. I can play on it.’

“That’ll never change. Players don’t ever like to come out of the lineup.”

So what happened?

As the Padres and Dodgers went into extra innings, Boros had to pinch-hit for his last third baseman, Jerry Royster, and it was Martinez who took his place in the 11th inning. Martinez had played there only one before in the major leagues in 1983 with the Chicago Cubs.

He had one putout and two assists.

So Wynne really homered his way into that lineup.

“And I understand his (Boros’) point,” Martinez said. “He’s hot.

“It’s OK, because I’m struggling. I’m having a tough time.”

Tough is striking out 11 times in seven games. Tough is going 5 for 22 (.227) for the season.

“Yes, I’m striking out a lot,” Martinez said. “My wife (Gladys) said last night (Sunday) to hang in there tough, that I’ve been in this situation before. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll be all right. I’ll get a couple hits tomorrow.’ And then I come today and my name’s not in the lineup.”

His hitting coach, Deacon Jones: “He’s struggling. He’s been guessing some. When you guess at the plate, half of the time you’re wrong, for sure.

“He’s anticipating pitches and starting too soon. He was staying back earlier in the spring. Man, you never know what’s in a guy’s head. Maybe, this is all because he’s a home-run hitter (21 last year) and he wants to hit one bad.”

Wynne, on the other hand, is playing winning baseball. On Monday, he came up with a runner on third and scored him on a line-drive sacrifice fly to center.

“When I came here, my role was just going in and playing defense and pinch-running,” he said. “I like a job like that. Now, I’ll just go out and give 110% as a starter. That is the first time I’ve hit two home runs back to back. It’s a big boost for myself. But I’m not a home-run hitter.”

But what if he keeps hitting the ball and Martinez keeps missing it? Wynne plays for more than just a day? Already, the Padres have former gold glover Amos Otis working with McReynolds in left. Already, Martinez was booed during Sunday’s game.

“That (boos) will happen when there’s someone behind you who can play,” Martinez said. “Last year, there was nobody behind me.”

Padre Notes The Padres and Dodgers have both opened the season with seven consecutive one-run games, a record. But one out of about every third baseball game is decided by one run. In the National League last year, 317 of the 970 games were decided by a run. In the American League, it was 322 out of 1132. Last year, the Padres were 31-30 in one-run games and played the second most in the league (behind New York’s 64). San Diego finished 12 games behind the first-place Dodgers, so just 24 more runs and the conceivably could have tied the Dodgers. This illustrates the importance of one run games. Last year, Cincinnati was 39-18 in games decided by a run, and that’s one reason why they pushed the Dodgers. . . . During Sunday’s game, with Carmelo Martinez on first, Jerry Royster doubled to right center. Martinez came chugging around third and headed for home because third base coach Jack Krol was waving him in. But Krol changed his mind after a strong relay, and it was too late. Martinez was out in a rundown. The fans booed Martinez, but they didn’t know who had made the boo-boo. . . . Bip Roberts, who didn’t play Sunday because he had a stomach virus, was back and available for action Monday. . . . Pitcher LaMarr Hoyt threw more on the side Monday, and Manager Steve Boros said Hoyt might make an appearance in this weekend’s series in San Francisco. But he isn’t expected to start a game until April 29, against Chicago. . . . Steve Garvey, who was hitting .185 (5-for-27) before Monday’s game, rarely arrives early for extra batting practice, but he was out there taking his cuts at 4 p.m. Monday. He then hit a sixth-inning home run Monday night.