After striking out against Oakland's Dave Stewart on May 30, Wade Boggs tried to break his bat over his own head, then trashed a wood rack adjacent to the dugout. The next day he said he missed former Red Sox hitting coach Walter Hriniak, a comment that angered both manager Joe Morgan and current hitting coach Richie Hebner. "The umpires have a different strike zone for Wade this year," says Stewart. "Bigger—what it should be." Boggs won't comment, but an enlarged strike zone may explain why Boggs seems to be chasing more bad pitches, why he is walking less and why his average was under .300 going into June for the first time in his career.
PITCHING AFTER HOURS
Third baseman Jeff Hamilton of the Dodgers was the losing pitcher in last Saturday night's 22-inning, 5-4 loss to the Astros. Hamilton gave up a hit and an intentional walk before Rafael Ramirez drove in the winning run with a single over the glove of the substitute first baseman, Fernando Valenzuela (don't ask). But Hamilton's first professional appearance as a pitcher was not all bad. He retired the Astros in order when he entered the game in the bottom of the 21st, and his fastball was clocked at 91 mph. Hamilton, however, was not impressed. "I didn't have my real good pop," he said.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
?According to Atlanta outfielder-turned-pitcher Terry Blocker. "[Pitching coach] Bruce Dal Canton says my fastball has good movement and philosophy."
?When Trader Jack McKeon, the Padres manager, came back from the hospital after visiting his daughter-in-law's new baby girl last week, he was asked by Padres players about his granddaughter's name. "They haven't named her yet," said McKeon. "She's the baby to be named later."
THE GEORGE PRINCIPLE
On May 21 the Yankees fired manager Mark Weidemaier of their Class A Prince William club and replaced him with Stump Merrill. Weidemaier is a Billy Martin look-alike, and the joke making the rounds among Carolina League officials was probably inevitable: With Dallas Green entrenched for now, George had to do something....
?At the Florida High School all-star game last month, 5'11" pitcher Kiki Jones of Tampa's Hillsborough High School, which produced the Mets' Dwight Gooden, registered 98 mph with his fastball and between 83 and 87 mph with his hard curveball. "He's got a better arm than Gooden," says Seattle scout George Zuraw. "But Dwight uses his height to great advantage."
?Red Sox players criticize manager Joe Morgan for complaining about them to the media before talking to the players concerned. Morgan does a radio commercial for the New England Jeep-Eagle dealers in which he says, "And you don't have to stroke it like a player."