BASEBALL / GARY KLEIN : Wetherby Experiences Ups, Downs


Jeff Wetherby has been on the move the past two years and is bracing for another change of scenery.

Wetherby, a former standout hitter at Kennedy High, College of the Canyons and USC, played in the major leagues with the Atlanta Braves in 1989.

Since then, he’s been traded twice, quit the game and been signed as a free agent.


“The whole thing has pretty much been a brutal year for me,” said Wetherby, 27, who is playing for Jacksonville (Fla.), the Seattle Mariners’ affiliate in the double-A Southern League. “It’s been up and down the last two years, the biggest roller-coaster ride I have ever been on.”

It’s a far cry from where he thought he was professionally after the 1989 season when he appeared in 52 games for Atlanta and batted .208 with a home run and seven runs batted in in 42 at-bats.

In the spring of 1990, Wetherby was traded to the Cleveland Indians. He began the season at Colorado Springs in the triple-A Pacific Coast League.

“We started the season with a 12-game road trip and when we got back home, my manager said I was going to be going to the big leagues,” Wetherby said. “I then went 3 for 35 and struck out 12 times (at Colorado Springs). That didn’t help things too much.”

Instead, Wetherby spent the entire season at Colorado Springs, batting .313 with five homers and 42 RBIs.

Last November, Cleveland traded him to the Baltimore Orioles. Wetherby was one of four left-handed hitting outfielder/first basemen competing for playing time for triple-A Rochester (N.Y.). In May, after he was relegated to the bench when the Orioles promoted two right-handed-hitting players from double A, he quit and returned to his home near Atlanta.

Three weeks later, the Mariners signed Wetherby, who is batting .287 with seven homers and 32 RBIs in 71 games at Jacksonville. Wetherby will be a free agent after the season and is unsure where he will play in 1992.

“You never know what can happen in this game,” he said.

Joining up: High school baseball coaches in the Valley and Ventura areas will probably be receiving a letter this month as part of a drive to start up membership in the National High School Baseball Coaches Assn.

Plans call for a newsletter in November and a convention tentatively scheduled for November or December of 1992.

Walk on the wild side: That’s what Todd Crosby was the beneficiary of recently while playing for the Louisville Redbirds, the St. Louis Cardinals’ affiliate in the triple-A International League.

Crosby, an infielder from Canoga Park, drew 18 walks over a seven-game stretch after walking just 34 times all season. He is batting .213 with no homers and 13 RBIs.