McCaskill Still in Pain; Angels Hurting, Too

Times Staff Writer

If first impressions mean anything, first place is not in the Angels’ future this September.

Four days into the month that separates the playoff teams from the layoff teams, the Angels are 0-3, three games under .500, 5 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the American League West and genuinely concerned--again--about the health of pitcher Kirk McCaskill.

In his 10th post-surgery start Friday night, McCaskill lasted just three innings during the Angels’ 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.


McCaskill gave up a first-inning grand slam to Mike Pagliarulo and a second-inning home run to Rickey Henderson, but the Angels were less troubled by those pitches than by the arm that threw them.

McCaskill (4-6) was forced out of the game after three innings by the same elbow discomfort that forced him out of his previous start in the sixth inning.

For the second time in as many starts, the pain was with McCaskill from the first pitch. For the second time in as many starts, the pain was located in the spot where a surgeon sliced open McCaskill’s right elbow in April to remove bone spurs.

This time, however, there was one difference.

“It’s worse,” McCaskill said. “This is the worst it’s been since I’ve come back.”

Not quite as bad as before the arthroscope, McCaskill noted, but bad enough.

“That pain was an ice-pick type of pain,” McCaskill said. “This is just a twinge. The arm just doesn’t seem to get loose.


“It’s my opinion that I can’t hurt myself by pitching. What they took out (of the elbow) is out. There’s some wear and tear in there, and some inflammation has kind of cropped up again.”

McCaskill, 2-6 since rejoining the Angels in mid-July, said he planned to have team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum re-examine the arm when the club returns to Anaheim next week.

“I haven’t talked to (Yocum) in a while,” he said. “He said there’d be roadblocks after the surgery. But by now, I thought I’d be past any chance of roadblocks.”

McCaskill struggled from start to premature finish Friday night. He loaded the bases with one out in the first inning, issuing successive singles to Willie Randolph and Don Mattingly before walking Dave Winfield. Then, after a strikeout by Mike Easler, Pagliarulo hit his grand slam, a high drive over the right-field wall.

It was Pagliarulo’s 30th home run and second grand slam of the season, giving him 4 homers and 12 RBIs in 10 games against the Angels.

McCaskill ended the first inning and got two quick outs in the second before serving up Henderson’s home run and falling behind, 5-1. He worked out of the third inning, allowing just a single to Mattingly, but by then, he decided to risk the arm no more.

“He didn’t look very comfortable with anything he did out there,” Angel pitching coach Marcel Lachemann said.

Are the Angels concerned?

“Yeah,” Lachemann said. “Any time you have to take somebody out of a ballgame, you have to classify it as a concern.

“It’s premature to call it something serious, but it’s not something you don’t look into, either. I imagine the doctors will look at him again, to see where we’re at.”

Last season, John Candelaria underwent similar surgery in April, came back in July and finished with a 10-2 record, earning one national magazine’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. That precedent, Lachemann said, may have unduly raised expectations for McCaskill.

“That was rare,” Lachemann said of Candelaria’s 1986 finish. “But it caused a lot of people to expect Kirk to do the same thing.

“People took it for granted that Candelaria was the norm, rather than the exception.”

When McCaskill left Friday night, he left the Angels with a deficit they could never overcome--despite Wally Joyner’s 100th RBI of the season.

In the top of the fourth inning, with Jack Howell on third base and Johnny Ray on first base, Joyner singled to right for RBI No. 100. With it, Joyner became the ninth player in major league history to drive in 100 or more runs in both of his first two seasons.

As a rookie in 1986, Joyner finished with exactly 100 RBIs.

Joyner now joins an interesting class that includes Tony Lazzeri, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams--as well as Glenn Wright, Pinky Whitney and Ray Jablonski. So as indicators of future stardom go, a debut that includes consecutive seasons of 100 RBIs can mean everything--or nothing.

For Joyner, even the historic hit had a down side.

Not satisfied with a single, Joyner tried to stretch the hit into extra bases, only to find himself thrown out at second by right fielder Winfield.

“I tripped going around first base,” Joyner said, “and I said to myself, ‘Don’t go.’ But I went, anyway. It was my mistake. I got thrown out at second and ran us out of a big inning.”

And so it goes for the Angels, on all fronts, in September. Even when they do something right, they wind up, ultimately, in the red.

Angel Notes After driving in 100 runs as a rookie, Wally Joyner thought that he was slighted in contract negotiations by the Angels, who eventually signed him for $165,000 in 1987. And he doubted that a second straight 100-RBI season would help his cause for 1988. Said Joyner: “They’ll probably say, ‘Two is great, but you haven’t done anything until you’ve done it three years in a row.’ ” . . . Reporters and players alike did double-takes when they first noticed the lineup posted on the dugout wall by Angel Manager Gene Mauch. Batting in the leadoff spot--Mark Ryal? Playing shortstop? It was no joke, Mauch claimed. The intent was to bat Ryal once against Yankee right-hander Bill Gullickson and then take him out of the lineup, sending Dick Schofield into the field at shortstop at the bottom of the first inning. Ryal had just been recalled from Edmonton, where he batted .429 in 16 games, and Mauch was hoping to get one quick swing from a hot hitter. “You can only do it on the road,” Mauch said. “I’ve done it many times over the years. In 1972 with Montreal, I did it against Steve Carlton. Ron Hunt was all banged up and couldn’t play in the field, but I led him off as the center fielder. He hit a chinker over the infield and turned it into a double. We sent in a pinch-runner and he came around to score. We beat Carlton, 1-0.” Friday, the move proved somewhat less successful. Ryal led off by flying to center field, and the Angels went on to lose their third straight game.

New Angels: Edmonton recalls Jim Eppard and Tack Wilson were in uniform for Friday night’s game. For Eppard, 27, this is his first stint on a major league roster. Wilson, 31, a 12-year veteran of the minor leagues, spent two weeks with the Minnesota Twins in 1983. Eppard, who led the Pacific Coast League with a .341 batting average, figures to be used as a pinch-hitter by Mauch. “He’s like Ryal,” former Trapper teammate Jack Lazorko said. “He’s a left-handed hitter who can come off the bench and put the bat on the ball.” Wilson’s role will probably be as a pinch-runner and a defensive replacement in the outfield. Mauch’s scouting report on Wilson: “He can shag the ball with anybody, he doesn’t throw it so well once he catches it, he can run. So that eliminates any possibilities of me pinch-running with McCaskill again.” Wilson, who began his baseball career in the Dodgers’ system, was asked where he got the nickname Tack. “They called me that rookie ball, because of the way I dressed,” he said. “I had a tacky wardrobe. It was all I had.” So, it wasn’t because it sounded like Hack Wilson? “I wish,” Wilson said. . . . Old Angel: Miguel Garcia, the player to be named later in the Johnny Ray trade, was regarded as one of the top relief pitching prospects in the Angel organization. At 21, Garcia went 10-6 with 5 saves and a 2.59 earned-run average with Midland this season. Garcia also made one appearance with the Angels in April, allowing 5 runs in 1 innings. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up in a major-league bullpen,” Mauch said. “He has the kind of arm and the kind of body, he could get faster. Who knows, he might turn out to be another Jesse Orosco by the time he’s 27, 28, 29. I know one thing for damn sure--he can’t hit like Johnny Ray.” . . . Angel trainer Ned Bergert flew back to Los Angeles Friday to be with his wife, Sandy, for the birth of their second son, Scott Edward Reese.