To have any chance of successfully defending its division title, New York will need its ace, Dwight Gooden, who went on the DL on July 2 with a torn muscle in his right shoulder. Gooden began throwing again on Sunday, but he has doubts about his recovery. "I wonder every day about my arm," he says. "Will I have the same velocity? Will I have that real good curve? Will I be able to throw as hard as I used to? The doctors can tell me this will heal up fine all they want. I still ask the same questions every day. So I guess I'm still scared."
Last month Cincinnati manager Pete Rose said he wasn't interested in acquiring righthander Tim Leary from the Dodgers. But the Reds' pitching staff is so worn down that general manager Murray Cook decided to go ahead with the deal. Last week Cook sent outfielder Kal Daniels to L.A. for Leary, who was 17-11 with a 2.91 ERA last season but 6-7 with a 3.38 ERA this year. Rose had been disenchanted with Daniels, who was hitting a disappointing .218 with nine RBIs and has a reputation for being moody. "Kal's kind of a strange player in one respect," said Rose. "He always told me that he wanted to be the guy who produced runs, but every time I'd put him third or fourth in the order for an extended period, he'd say he didn't like it."
Daniels claims that's not the case, and he has privately blamed some of his troubles with the Reds on racial divisions within the clubhouse. Getting away from Rose, whom he doesn't respect, should be good for Daniels. He should also benefit from playing on the grass of Dodger Stadium instead of the artificial turf of Riverfront Stadium, because he's coming off his fourth knee operation.
To make room for Daniels in left, L.A. moved Kirk Gibson to center. But last week Gibson, who has been hobbled by a sprained right knee and a strained left hamstring, went on the DL for the second time this season, and rightfielder Mike Marshall is still bothered by the sore back that sidelined him for 30 games. As a result, Jose Gonzalez, a career .194 hitter, may lead the Dodger outfield this season in games played.
Gibson is considering retiring when his contract runs out after next season, primarily because of his nagging injuries. "Ever since I turned 31 [he was 32 in May], I haven't been able to heal," says Gibson. "Before I had always healed quickly. But in the past year, it seems I've aged several years. Maybe I can go to the American League as a busted-up National Leaguer and serve as DH. But I won't be a hanger-on."
HOLDOUT OR HOLDUP?
The Orioles have offered No. 1 draft pick Ben McDonald a $275,000 signing bonus and a one-year guaranteed contract, but he is holding out for a two-year deal. Now it looks like Baltimore president Larry Lucchino may ignore general manager Roland Hemond's advice and give in to McDonald's demand, offering him a two-year package worth around $500,000. Several scouting directors are worried that such a deal will set a dangerous precedent. "If they do that, they're hurting everyone else," says one, adding that the Orioles shouldn't give in because "they hold all the cards. He'll have less market value next season. What's he going to do—go back to the arm-injury factory at LSU? No way." ...Slugger Jose Canseco returned to the Oakland lineup on July 13 and hit five homers in his first nine games. But he still doesn't think he's going to be right this season. "My shoulders are tired, and both wrists are tired," says Canseco. "I have an idea what I want to do, but the body doesn't react." ...Last week the Padres offered the Tigers three players, including catcher Sandy Alomar, for shortstop Alan Trammell, but the Detroit front office nixed the deal. One would think that the aging Tigers would be interested in trying to rebuild, but as of Sunday they hadn't signed two of their top four draft choices.... Braves G.M. Bobby Cox is trying to work out a three-way deal that would send Atlanta infielder Jeff Blauser to the Cubs, Chicago shortstop Shawon Dunston to the Padres and Alomar to the Braves, who desperately need help at catcher.... On July 19 the A's were rained out of their last scheduled game in Detroit, but they could go back if the race is undecided. Anderson called La Russa and told him, "Don't make me have to play you after the season. I don't believe in playing the part of a spoiler."