In an announcement that could be a precursor to his retirement, Philadelphia Phillies catcher-turned-outfielder Darren Daulton said his bad knees were forcing him on to the disabled list.
Daulton, 34, said he would head for the Phillies' spring training base in Clearwater, Fla., to begin rehabilitation on his right knee, which he injured last July while running the bases.
But judging by what he said, and by the tears in the eyes of owner Bill Giles and Manager Jim Fregosi, it could very well be that Daulton, who has spent 16 seasons in the Philadelphia organization, has played his last game.
"Right now, I don't know if the knee is healed up, and I don't know if it ever will be," Daulton said after the Phillies' game against Cincinnati was rained out.
Daulton, who has had nine knee operations, said he came to the conclusion that he was hurting the team after Saturday night's game against the Reds. Specifically, he said he saw pitches that he should have been able to drive, but was unable to do so.
"I thought if I could help this club offensively, that was the most important thing," said Daulton, who was two for 12--both singles--with no RBIs in the young season. "Last night, I realized I couldn't do that. I just had no base underneath me."
San Diego native Ted Williams will participate in the ceremonial first pitch as the San Diego Padres have their home opener this afternoon against the Florida Marlins. Because he has been slowed by four strokes since 1991, the Splendid Splinter will be given the choice of making the toss or letting someone else do it.
Williams, 77, who walks with the aid of a cane, was spry enough to give a few Padres batting tips when he was in town in mid-February to receive an award from the San Diego Hall of Champions.
"He can still throw," Williams' son, John Henry, said recently.