- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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ON THE ONE HAND: "If this was a normal season, under normal circumstances I'd be pleased with it," Sparky Anderson said after his Tigers came home from a West Coast trip with a 5-4 record. "But for us in Fantasyland, it's not too good."
Oakland's Dave Kingman has invented a new way to get hurt—he tore a ligament in his left knee while arguing with an umpire. This bizarre episode began Monday when Kingman, the majors' home-run leader with 14, was ejected by first-base ump Steve Palermo because he disagreed with Palermo's call on a checked-swing appeal. "Tell Palermo he's got the worst case of bad breath I've ever seen. He's got to cut down on his garlic," Kingman said after that game.
The next day, Kingman singled in his first at bat, and about 20 feet out of the box, he turned to yell something at Palermo, who was the home-plate ump. At the same time Kingman stumbled and fell. He got up and finished the game but reported for work the next day with a bad limp. He'll miss at least a week.
Pitcher Dennis Eckersley has found that being a major league hitter can be a mixed blessing. Eckersley, traded recently from Boston to the Cubs, said, "My arms are killing me, my back's killing me," after taking batting practice and then going 0 for 2 (a groundout and a strikeout) in his first two at bats. "I don't feel that good." He felt better when he got his first big league hit in his next game.... The team-record hitting streak of Mets third baseman Hubie Brooks ended at 24 games. Brooks was on the trading block all winter after hitting .251 in 1983 and .249 in '82, but now is batting .291.... Houston's Jerry Mumphrey said Ozzie Smith is "the greatest player ever to walk on an infield," after the Cardinal shortstop went into the hole and robbed fellow Astro Mark Bailey.
When Bruce Hurst and Bob Ojeda threw back-to-back shutouts at Fenway Park last week, it was the first time since 1916—Babe Ruth and Dutch Leonard—that Red Sox lefties had pulled off that trick. Some luck was involved, though. The day after Hurst's schneid, Twins lefty Frank Viola had a 5-0 lead over the Sox through four innings. Then the rains came and forced a postponement.... It took him 19 games, but on May 30 Jim Rice finally hit his first home run of the season in Fenway Park after getting six in 25 games on the road.
GENERALLY SPEAKING: "We have got enough material here for a segment on General Hospital," said Angels manager John McNamara as he looked at the six names on the team's disabled list. "Maybe," he said after a pause, "a miniseries."..."This team drinks milk and goes home and watches General Hospital," said Detroit hitting coach Gates Brown when asked to compare the '84 Tigers with the '68 world champs. "The only time the '68 team turned on the TV, there was nothing on—'cause it was five in the morning."
Cleveland pitcher Bert Blyleven, who has been on the disabled list since May 23, wants to be traded, but Indians president Gabe Paul says nothing doing. "For two years [1982 and '83] we paid him a good salary and he did nothing because he was hurt," says Paul. "Now he owes the Indians and the city something in return. This is a totally unreasonable request." ...It's no coincidence that the Royals' offense has come alive now that George Brett and Willie Wilson are back. K.C. scored 104 runs in its first 32 games, 84 in its last 17.... Tom Seaver's 4.87 ERA reflects the sad state of White Sox relief pitching. Eight of the 10 base runners Seaver has turned over to relievers have scored.... Detroit's Jack Morris, who has 10 wins, is 15 games ahead of Denny McLain's pace when he won 31 in 1968. "You want to know why I stopped coaching baseball and switched to coaching tennis?" says Bill Lorenz, Morris's high school coach in St. Paul. "I had the American League's Cy Young winner and I played him at third base."
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