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Whitson Still Hates New York : Padre Pitcher Plans to Avoid City’s Fans on First Return Trip

Times Staff Writer

San Diego pitcher Ed Whitson, certain he’ll become the next Wally Joyner, says he won’t step onto the Shea Stadium field this weekend when the Padres meet the Mets.

Whitson received death threats when he played for the New York Yankees earlier this season, and he figures if a knife can be tossed at Joyner, why can’t a gun be aimed at him?

Joyner was hit in the right forearm by a knife thrown from the stands Aug. 26 in Yankee Stadium. He was not injured.

Originally, Whitson was supposed to pitch Saturday’s game here, but Manager Steve Boros knew of Whitson’s fear and scheduled him to pitch Monday in San Francisco instead. Whitson didn’t even accompany the team to New York Wednesday night, choosing to spend his off-day Thursday in Atlantic City.

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He is due in town today, but will wear sunglasses even if it’s cloudy. He refuses to walk the streets.

“My room service bill is gonna be a mint,” he said.

He hasn’t been to New York since the Yankees traded him in June. And when he played here, he wouldn’t step on the field, either. He took a back tunnel from the Yankee clubhouse to the bullpen and took shelter there.

“Walking out there (on the Yankee Stadium field), it was like carrying a bull’s-eye on your back,” Whitson said. “That’s what I felt like the whole time I was there. . . . The only time you’ll see me out there (in public this weekend) is getting off the bus and getting on the bus. That’s the only time you’ll see me out. . . . I ain’t going out on the field. I’ll do my work in the trainer’s room. Like I said, if were up to me, I’d go to San Francisco today. Will I be in the dugout for the game? Yeah, but I’ll sit on the far end near the runway. That’s as far as I’ll go.

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“I just don’t want to go through the hassle of being involved in anything other than playing the games and getting the hell out of there. That’s all I want to do. The sooner we get out of there, the better.”


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