Fred McGriff of the San Diego Padres is used to being overlooked, but it got ridiculous last week when he was the leaving the field after the greatest offensive feat of his career--a major league record-tying two grand slams in two days.

McGriff was asked by a young fan to autograph a baseball card. A Ron Karkovice card.

“If I never save another game for the rest of my career, I won’t lose any sleep over it.”


Those were words spoken recently by the Milwaukee Brewers’ converted starter, Dan Plesac, who finally admitted that he no longer had the stuff to be a top relief pitcher.

This is the same Plesac the Dodgers nearly acquired last month to strengthen their bullpen, before Vice President Fred Claire decided the asking price was too high.

The Boston Red Sox were criticized last winter for giving a three-year, $6.35-million contract to Matt Young. Now it is Young, a former Dodger, who is paying the price.

Young, who missed more than two months because of a rotator cuff injury, has been criticized for what reporters call a ‘phobia’ about making the easy throw. Young has lobbed a pickoff throw over the first baseman’s head twice and bounced an intentional-walk pitch to the catcher.

Young is 3-3 with a 4.55 earned-run average, which is a bit better than Danny Darwin’s 3-6 record and 5.16 ERA. Darwin, who is probably out for the rest of the season because of rotator cuff problems, signed a four-year deal last winter worth $12.4 million.

In the world of baseball promotion, there is no such thing as an early start. Saturday night, fans attending the game between the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium received a 1992 All-Star game cap. The game will be played in San Diego in exactly 331 days.

Who says the fans don’t appreciate good baseball in Seattle? When the Mariners completed the first four-game home sweep in the club’s 14-year history Thursday against the Oakland Athletics, a crowd of 32,006 filed into the cavernous Kingdome for the finale.

No big deal, except the game started at 12:30 p.m. on a rare, cloudless, 80-degree day.

“I’ve experienced crowds going crazy,” Mariner reliever Mike Schooler said, “but never psychotic, like these people.”

When the Philadelphia Phillies’ Terry Mulholland pitched a complete game Monday against the Montreal Expos, it was the first time this season that the Phillies’ bullpen phone didn’t ring at least once.

The Dodgers’ Brett Butler has not grounded into a double play since the Padres led the National League West, on April 17.

Shortly after Wilson Alvarez threw a no-hitter for the Chicago White Sox Sunday, Texas Rangers General Manager Tom Grieve was accosted by his daughter at Arlington Stadium.

“Nice trade, Dad,” she said.

Two summers ago, Grieve traded Alvarez with outfielder Sammy Sosa and infielder Scott Fletcher to the White Sox for outfielder Harold Baines and utility infielder Fred Manrique.

When Baltimore’s Mike Mussina struck out 10 Rangers last week, he became just the second Oriole pitcher in the last 440 games to strike out 10 or more batters in a game.

The American League’s leading home run hitter per at-bat with a minimum of 250 at-bats this season is the Mariners’ Jay Buhner, who has 24 homers in 278 at-bats, or one for every 11.6 at-bats.