Some observations, notes, quotes and tidbits as the abbreviated spring training comes to an inconclusive conclusion:
New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner must be hoping his new pitcher, Pascual Perez, is worth his gold in wins. When Perez finally arrived in camp he appeared to be wearing most of the $5.7 million Steinbrenner had given him around his neck.
As if that wasn’t enough to get The Boss’ attention, Perez was hiding most of his gold under long, shaggy hair that stretched to his shoulders. In addition to having Dock Ellis travel as his confidant, Perez also may need a personal valet and bodyguard--especially if he wears as much jewelry on the streets of New York as he has on the playing fields of Florida.
Don Mattingly is making noises again about leaving the Yankees when his contract expires at the end of the year. The first baseman, who will make $2.5 million in the last year of his contract, is unhappy because Steinbrenner has dragged his feet in negotiations. Mattingly says a new deal must be done before Opening Day. Look for Mattingly to command a $20 million, five-year deal, surpassing the $16 million, four-year contract the San Francisco Giants gave Will Clark.
In a concession to his emotional stability, Sparky Anderson has vowed to cut back on his demanding schedule. But the Detroit Tigers manager has not lost his enthusiasm--or his zest for the overstatement.
After Cecil Fielder hit three home runs in an early exhibition against St. Louis, Anderson said the former Toronto Blue Jay would be his fourth-place hitter this season. Fielder is fresh from Japan, which might be the only place other than Florida where his home runs would have cleared the fence.
“All three would have been outs in Tiger Stadium,” said an unimpressed Whitey Herzog, the St. Louis Cardinals’ manager.
Two encouraging aspects of Jay Tibbs’ comeback effort with the Baltimore Orioles have nothing to do with his six scoreless innings. In his third inning of work against the Atlanta Braves two days ago, every batter hit the ball hard, but in his final inning Tibbs threw better than he did in the other three. In addition, the right-hander’s fastball started at 84 mph, stepped up to 86, and peaked at 90.
The Yankees easily won the award for the worst public relations move of the spring. Refunds for exhibition games canceled because of the lockout were generally available only on days the Yankees were on the road, thus no need for fans to come to the park.
On game days the refund office was open occasionally, but it is located inside the turnstiles and a ticket purchase was necessary to get that far. Nobody was allowed inside simply to refund a ticket.
The New York Mets figured they solved their inner turmoil of a year ago by failing to renew the contracts of veterans Keith Hernandez and catcher Gary Carter, and opening up playing time for their younger players. But if the Mets don’t make a trade, Manager Davey Johnson still will have to deal with the grumbling.
Pitcher Bob Ojeda has been sent to the bullpen, and the acquisition of Mike Marshall has made a reserve out of Dave Magadan. Neither Ojeda nor Magadan is happy, so the harmony might be temporary.
Chris Myers, the Orioles’ promising left-hander, did not get his wish to start the season with triple A Rochester; he will go north with double A Hagerstown. Although he is not as upset as a year ago when he opened with single A Frederick, Myers made his concerns known to Doug Melvin, the Orioles’ director of player development.
“He told me he didn’t want his age (21 this month) to hold him back,” Melvin said. “I explained to him that he had only a little over 100 innings at Double A (last year).
“We did the same thing with (Bob) Milacki two years ago, and it worked out fine.”
Myers and Baltimorean Mike Linskey, also sent to Hagerstown, are in similar situations, according to Melvin. “What we’re looking for is them to go out and get off to a quick start in double A, win three out of four or four out of five. Then I’d have no problem moving them up.”
Evidently the Orioles have few reservations about David Segui, who is being hailed as the first baseman of the future. The best bargain in the system ($1,000 bonus as an undrafted free agent), Segui has played only a half-season at double A, and is moving through the system at the same pace Steve Finley did a couple of years ago. The main reason the Orioles released Francisco Melendez was because they did not want to impede Segui’s progress. He is the son of former major-leaguer Diego Segui.