It’s not something he can call the Red Cross or the Department of Health, Education and Welfare about.
Instead, responding to an injury to catcher Mike Scioscia, the latest in a series of injuries that have struck the Dodgers, Executive Vice President Fred Claire placed a call to catcher Gilberto Reyes in the Dominican Republic late Wednesday night.
Claire instructed Reyes to report to Oakland by the start of tonight’s fifth game of the World Series, which the improbable Dodgers lead, 3-1, via a 4-3 victory over the Oakland A’s Wednesday night.
Scioscia twisted his right knee in a play at second base in the fourth inning and limped out of the game.
He will be re-examined by Dr. Frank Jobe sometime this morning, with Jobe’s diagnosis determining whether Claire will attempt to ask Commissioner Peter Ueberroth to waive a rule that prohibits injured players from being replaced once a World Series or league championship series has begun.
“I have no guarantees from anyone,” Claire said, alluding to a possible waiver request. “We’re bringing Reyes in as a precaution if Scioscia is unable to play.”
Claire had discussed the roster rule with representatives of the commissioner earlier Wednesday when Jobe informed him that John Tudor will be unable to make another World Series start because of a ligament sprain in his left elbow.
“I didn’t get much encouragement,” Claire said, regarding the possibility of replacing Tudor on the roster.
Ueberroth said he thought the rule should be revised to allow replacements after a Series or playoff has started and he made such a recommendation after the St. Louis Cardinals lost Vince Coleman in the 1985 playoffs against the Dodgers.
“Nothing happened,” he said, “but I’ll suggest it to the rules committee when it meets again (after the Series is over). It’s their job. The rule as it is cannot be waived during competition.”
Said Claire, comparing the Scioscia situation to the loss of Tudor:
“It’s not the same. We’re nine deep in pitchers. If Mike can’t play, we have only one other catcher (Rick Dempsey). We could end up having to use someone who has never caught before in a World Series game. It’s a situation that wouldn’t be good for baseball.”
The options after Scioscia and Dempsey are Mickey Hatcher and Dave Anderson, but Hatcher is already filling a void, and who knows where and when Anderson will be needed. As Claire said of the injury wave:
“There seems to be a domino effect to what’s happening. I was greatly concerned when Mike came out. He seemed to be in great pain. That’s why I went right to the phone.”
Scioscia hit a single to open the fourth inning. Dave Stewart went to a 3-and-1 count on Danny Heep, filling the designated hitter role--since Mike Davis was in right field, replacing injured Mike Marshall.
On a night when Manager Tom Lasorda put emphasis on the hit-and-run to compensate for the absence of Marshall and Kirk Gibson in his patchwork lineup, Scioscia got the “run” sign.
“With a 3-and-1 count,” he said later, “the hitter is under no obligation to swing. There was no miscommunication at all. Danny took a borderline pitch that he thought should have been Ball 4.”
Umpire Derryl Cousins called it a strike, and catcher Terry Steinbach threw to shortstop Walt Weiss, easily nabbing the lumbering Scioscia.
“I didn’t feel anything when I slid,” he said, “but as soon as I put my foot on the bag, the knee popped out on me. I’ve been having some irritation in it, but not to this extent.
“I mean, it hurt to the extent that I was in a state of shock when I came out. It’s not a pleasant feeling when you play hard all season and then get hurt in the World Series.”
Scioscia went right to the clubhouse, where Jobe made some adjustments in the knee and instructed the trainers to apply ice. By the time the game was over, Scioscia said it was feeling considerably better. Would he expect to play tonight?
“If there’s anyway possible without being a detriment to the team I’ll do it,” he said. “But I have to give the club an honest opinion. I can’t play if there’s a risk I’ll have to come out after a couple innings. Then we have no one behind Rick.”
Lasorda disagreed with Scioscia some, saying Heep is obligated to protect the runner.
“He had to swing,” the manager said.
Heep, however, shook his head and said: “On a 3-and-1 count I’m looking for a pitch to drive and I got what I thought was a high ball. All I could have done was foul it off or pop it up. It was only a strike because you had an American League umpire who calls the high strike. To say that I could have prevented Mike from getting hurt by swinging is hindsight, a second guess.”
No one was saying that.
In fact, almost everyone was praising Heep and his fellow Stuntmen for the remarkable job they have done amid the injuries.
“It’s nice to play,” said Heep, who had a double after Marshall left Game 3 and added a single in his designated hitter role Wednesday night. “It feels like I’ve been stuck in a closet all season, and no one wants to be a spectator.
“I wish the circumstances were different, but at this point the club needs us. We can’t moan and groan about the big guys being hurt.
“Guys like Michael Davis and myself can play. We didn’t get to the big leagues just because we eat pasta.”
“We’re not a team of stars,” he said. “We’re not built on a two-man premise. Too much has been made of that. The pressure isn’t just on one or two guys, everyone carries the load. We have a lot of depth and it’s showing now.”