Such is the state of the Dodgers during this World Series that Dr. Frank Jobe, the team’s physician, held a press conference Wednesday that lasted longer than any player’s or coach’s.
And this was before Mike Scioscia twisted his right knee in the fourth inning Wednesday night sliding into second base.
Jobe had plenty to talk about, most notably the condition of Mike Marshall, whose back strain flared again in Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics in Game 3. Marshall, who received a cortisone injection, played only in right field in the ninth inning of Game 4 Wednesday night. Kirk Gibson didn’t play at all.
Jobe also discussed the slow improvement in Gibson’s right knee sprain and left hamstring pull, and the possible career-threatening injury to pitcher John Tudor’s left elbow.
Gibson’s condition basically is unchanged. His right knee is not mobile enough for him to play. Tudor is out for the rest of the Series, which means that Tim Leary will probably start Game 6 in Los Angeles if it is necessary.
Most of the questions, however, concerned Marshall, who said his back “went out” when he slid into third base Sunday night. Jobe said Marshall then suffered muscle spasms Tuesday night.
Jobe examined Marshall again Wednesday and said Marshall’s condition has improved and he may be in the lineup tonight in Game 5. Jobe said that Marshall had no ill effects the day after the cortisone shot, as sometimes is the case.
“He has a mechanical strain that when he gets in an awkward position he has trouble moving sometimes,” Jobe said. “The purpose of the injection was to reduce the inflammation, not numb the area.”
Gibson still has pain in both legs, although Jobe said he has had shown some improvement.
“Right now, he is still pretty limited to the role he has been doing the first couple of games,” Jobe said. “But we are hopeful that could change. . . . There is no structural damage (in his right knee ligament), so if there wasn’t the pain, he would not hurt himself permanently if he played.”
Dennis Eckersley, the A’s relief ace who set a major league record with 45 saves and who also gave up the ninth-inning home run to Kirk Gibson in Game 1, said Wednesday night that the failures stay with you longer.
About Mark McGwire’s ninth-inning homer in Game 3 off the Dodgers’ Jay Howell, Eckersley said: “I can’t speak for Jay, but I know that I’ll never get used to it.”
Pedro Guerrero, traded to the St. Louis Cardinals Aug. 16, will receive only a half-share of the Dodgers’ postseason earnings, contrasted with a three-quarters share that Dodger players voted John Tudor, who started only nine games after being acquired for Guerrero.
Don Sutton, released Aug. 12, was voted a half-share. Ricky Horton, acquired 15 days after Tudor, was voted a quarter-share.
Manager Tom Lasorda of the Dodgers played his own game before Wednesday’s game, verbally sparring with the Oakland fans who lined the box-seat railings and showered him with insults.
To one, who was accompanied by a woman in a green witch’s mask, Lasorda shouted, “Hey buddy, I see you brought your wife.”
Upon learning that another fan had called him a fat slob, Lasorda referred to two of his larger coaches by shouting: “Come on down here. We’ll see how you like (Joe) Ferguson and (Mark) Cresse. C’mon down here and say it to my face.”
To another heckler, he shouted: “So, you finally get to say something when you get out of the house! You’re probably so henpecked you don’t even smile.”
Later, Lasorda told reporters, “The guy who calls me names, he comes down face-to-face and suddenly I’m his favorite manager.
“That’s OK. The fans are fine. They are like anywhere else. One guy up there probably had a bad day at work but couldn’t holler at anybody so he has to holler at me. Another guy, maybe he’s mad at his wife, so he comes here to get mad at me. I understand.”
One last word from Lasorda on Tuesday night’s sixth inning, in which three straight Dodgers left the bases loaded amid questions of unused pinch-hitters, including Kirk Gibson.
“If Gibby had come up to me when we loaded the bases and said, ‘Tommy, not one of those guys is going to get the ball out of the infield,’ well sure, I would have sent up three pinch-hitters,” Lasorda shouted before Wednesday’s game.
“If I knew we ain’t scoring no runs, I would have pinch-hit the batboy. But nobody told me.”
A’s Manager Tony La Russa, on the extent of his club’s strategy against Game 5 starter Orel Hershiser: “Hope he’s not sharp.”
Times staff writers Ross Newhan, Bill Plaschke and Mike Penner contributed to this story.