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BASEBALL
Peter Gammons
May 04, 1987
YANKS A LOT
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May 04, 1987

Baseball

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Steve Kemp is hitting better than .400 for Oklahoma City and may be called up by the Rangers when they need a bat off the bench or a lefthanded DH....

The Cardinals' long list of injuries—John Tudor's broken bone below his right knee, Tony Pena's broken thumb, Willie McGee's hamstring pull, Jim Lindeman's hamstring pull, Jeff Lahti's shoulder problem, Tommy Herr's groin pull after he took the league RBI lead—didn't keep them from moving ahead of the pitching-poor Mets. Davey Johnson tried a four-man rotation for five games, and the starters allowed 22 earned runs in 24? innings. In three straight starts, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez and Rick Aguilera each failed to last five innings, which never happened last year. And without Roger McDowell, the Mets blew eight leads in a four-game losing streak.

HOMECOMING WEEK

All five remaining Type A free agents will likely return to their former teams on or after May 1. Guidry will get close to the $1.65 million for two seasons that he declined from the Yankees on Jan. 8, then go to the minors for two or three starts. Bob Boone will return to the Angels for something in the vicinity of the $883,000 he turned down. Rich Gedman will rejoin the Red Sox for the $2.65 million over three years he rejected, and Tim Raines will get the $4.8 million for three years that he didn't want four months ago from the Expos. The Braves want to re-sign Doyle Alexander, but for far less than the $910,000 and $960,000 for two years (with a $600,000 bonus at age 50) that they had originally offered. In all likelihood, salaries of the above will be prorated for time missed. In Guidry's case, deducted pay would amount to more than
$100,000....

Jeff Reardon may have had a 6.35 ERA in his first five appearances for the Twins, but he also contributed four saves and a sense of stability that has long been missing in the Minnesota bullpen. "Just having him sit there changes that team," says Royals (and former Twins) skipper Billy Gardner. "I know this spring when the Royals asked me if I wanted to take a stress test like the players, I said, 'I don't need another one, I managed Ron Davis.' " After Reardon gave up two hits and three walks, hit a batter and still got his fourth save, Kent Hrbek told him, "We've only played 12 games and already you have more saves than any Twins reliever in this century." The Twins also may have found a setup man in Juan Berenguer, who had 21 strikeouts and allowed three runs in his first five appearances....

Is there a player whose loss is more devastating to his team than George Brett? His disabling separated rib cartilage marks the 14th time since 1977 that Brett has missed at least eight games. The injuries have been to his right elbow, left shoulder, right heel, right ankle, right hand, right wrist, left toe, left knee, left hamstring, right hamstring and right shoulder. During those 14 absences, the Royals have gone 110-126. But there is a silver lining: In those seasons, Brett has come back to help the Royals win a World Series, two pennants and five division titles....

The Yanks are scouting Dickie Thon for a possible deal before he ends his minor league tuneup in Tucson. They want another shortstop to go with Wayne Tolleson, and a healthy Thon is better than other available talent. Included are Atlanta's Rafael Ramirez (even with Andres Thomas hurt, the Braves would like to deal Ramirez and stick with either Mike Fischlin or touted prospect Jeff Blauser) and Boston's Spike Owen, who lost his job to Glenn Hoffman....

Lee Smith seems to have reclaimed his status as one of the best short men, with four saves and 16 strikeouts in his first nine innings for the Cubs. The difference? Smith has finally come up with a slider to go with his 94-mph fastball. "Everyone was hootin' on me to get another pitch," he says.

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