- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Gary Gaetti, the Twins' third baseman, said he was going on a hunger strike after a bad game last week in Toronto. Four hours later he was stuffing his face. He said thoughts of Gandhi came to him during his "fast." "I thought, 'How the heck did he do it?' " ...The Mariners' Jim Beattie has pitched 11 complete games since last Aug. 8 and has a 3-8 record in them. The ERA for the 11 games is 1.99, and the three wins were all shutouts.... The Red Sox, who grounded into a big-league record 171 double plays in 1982 and tied the mark in 1983, have 50 GDPs already, a record-setting pace. But the Brewers have 53. At that rate, they will GDP 200 times.... John Lowenstein played first base one day last week for the first time in five years. Had a nifty game, too. So Mike Flanagan decided to call him "Fred Astairical." ...La-Marr Hoyt, last year's AL Cy Young winner, is limping along at 3-5 with a 4.21 ERA. It's the old story—he's not painting the edges of the plate the way he's supposed to.... Angels designated hitter Reggie Jackson is 0 for his last 22 and is now batting .208.
The first-place Cubs have plenty of hitting, a bench and a bullpen. But do the Cubbies, who lost Dick Ruthven for possibly the season last week (arm circulation) but gained Dennis Eckersley from the Red Sox in exchange for Bill Buckner, have enough starting pitching?
They've been adequate in that area so far, thanks in part to Steve Trout, who has never really pitched to his potential, and Rick Reuschel, who was left for dead by the Yankees two years ago after shoulder surgery, but is alive and well, 25 pounds lighter and hitting the corners.
Trout, who has had his moments as a space cadet, is 5-3 and says the reason is pitching coach Billy Connors. Reuschel, who spent most of his career with the Cubs, is 2-1. When he weighed 250 he had one of baseball's most visible waistlines, but he lost the weight—he's now 225—he says, "Because I got the impression from [Cubs general manager] Dallas Green that if I didn't lose it, I wouldn't get the chance to prove myself in the spring."
The Red Sox may finally have found a replacement for Carlton Fisk. Rich Gedman, who started spring training as the backup to Gary Allenson, is batting .281 with eight homers and 24 RBIs, after hitting only two homers and driving in 18 runs in 204 at bats last season.
After missing more than two years with a bum elbow, Houston's Joe Sambito has made it back to the big time even though he doesn't have that 90-plus mph fastball anymore.... Remember the home run, George Hendrick hit with two out in the ninth to end Mario Soto's no-hit bid? Well, Hendrick gave Soto the bat. Soto got a long fly ball, a double and a single out of it. Then he broke it.... Cardinal second baseman Tommy Herr thinks the trouble with his 22-25 team is "We've got some guys who don't care. We just seem a little too laid back at times." ...Greg Booker, a 23-year-old righty the Padres called up last week, is the son-in-law of Padre G.M. Jack McKeon. "I didn't look through baseball books trying to find a major league manager with an eligible daughter," says Booker, who has known McKeon's daughter Kristi since first grade.
The Mets' Darryl Strawberry has as much raw talent as any player in the game, but he still isn't applying it on a daily basis. And it appears that Strawberry, who has no home runs and only six RBIs since April 28, is also putting the wrong kind of pressure on himself.
Strawberry, 22, came to the majors last season as one of the most heralded rookies in years, but he has been criticized because of his work habits from high school all the way to the bigs. On the Mets' recent West Coast road trip he also showed up late for batting practice one morning and was benched.
"Some outfielders work on their defense during batting practice, but Darryl never does," one Met says. And when the Mets take infield, Strawberry wears a warmup jacket and lollipops his throws from short rightfield. "He walks through the rehearsal instead of treating it like a dress rehearsal."