- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Last season Boston's Tony Armas hit 36 homers and drove in 107 runs. He also batted .218. "Last year was embarrassing," says Armas, who's hitting .286 this year with 19 homers and 55 RBIs. "I'm not a .218 hitter."
One of his problems was a bum right elbow that needed surgery last winter. Another was Armas's swing. It was the old story—righthanded power hitter who hits to all fields gets traded to Fenway; righthanded power hitter tries to jerk everything over the Green Monster; right-handed power hitter's batting average goes kerplunk.
Enter Red Sox batting coach Walt Hriniak. "I felt Tony could hit to rightfield," he says. "When I knew Tony would be listening one day, I asked Jim Rice what he thought he'd be hitting for his career if he tried to pull every pitch. I knew the answer, but I wanted Tony to hear it. And Rice said, 'About .240.' " Armas got the point.
The remains of Reggie Jackson's $65,000 Porsche 930 were finally found last week in an Orange County ( Calif.) industrial park. As W.C. Fields said near the end of The Bank Dick, "The resale value of this car is practically nil."
The resale value of three other Orange County Porsches found there was practically nil, too. Like Jackson's, they were taken from restaurant parking lots in Newport Beach. Like Jackson's, they were minus engine, transmission and dashboard. The resale value of each set of missing parts—$10,000 to $15,000. Said a Newport Beach detective, "You could put what's left of Reggie's car on your desk."
The thieves even took Reggie's license plate. But they obviously kept that for a souvenir. It reads: JAX44.
Last Monday night in San Francisco, Giants manager Frank Robinson and Reds third baseman Wayne Krenchicki, who used to play for Robinson in the Orioles' farm system, traded needles. Krenchicki told Robinson he was going deep that night. Robinson laughed and told him he would get jammed every at bat.
Then the game began. Krenchicki flied out to the warning track in his first at bat, and Robinson sent word to him, through third base coach Danny Ozark, that he didn't have enough pop to hit the baseball over the fence. Oops! The game became a 2-1 Reds win when Krenchicki homered in the ninth. Touch�.
Ever wonder what happened to Fred Lynn? Well, he's hitting .255 for the Angels with 25 RBIs in this, the last year of his four-year $5.2 million contract. Lynn, 32, better get hot or else he's going to take one monstrous pay cut.... Lou Piniella's last road game was in Fenway, and when the retirement of the Yankees' batting coach was announced before his first at bat he was given a long standing O. Pinieila repaid the compliment with a letter to Red Sox owner Haywood Sullivan asking him to relay his thanks.... Once the sale of the Indians to David LeFevre is official, former Houston G.M. Tal Smith will become an adviser with "a major role." ...After Oakland lefty Tim Conroy won his first game of the year recently, he said, "I lost my confidence five years ago in the minors, but I'm back now. I'll never lose it again." In his next start, last Thursday against Toronto, he was asked to leave after 15 pitches—two strikes and 13 balls.... Boston's Jim Rice has a timetable. "By the All-Star Game I like to have about 12 or 13 homers, 50 RBIs and a .300 average." So far Rice has 14 homers, 61 RBIs and a .277 average.
Cleveland's Mel Hall has this thing about batting gloves. He uses six each game, but he never puts one on his hand. Instead, Hall sticks three gloves in each of his back pockets. Very precisely, so the fingers flutter hither and thither as he runs. Or, as he says about the view from the rear after he hits a home run, "I'm waving goodby as I trot around the bases."