- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Red Sox stopper Bob Stanley, having an off-year (10 losses, 3.62 ERA), was booed when he entered a game last week. "I'm not afraid to say I'm scared out there," he said. "It's the first time in my career I was booed coming into a game. Usually they boo after I leave." One reason Stanley might be nervous is because his slump has come at a bad time—he has begun to negotiate a new long-term contract, and his agent had been talking about a $1 million-a-year deal.
For now, the middle of the Phillies infield is composed of a shortstop who can't hit—Steve Jeltz—and a second baseman who can't field—Juan Samuel. It will be interesting to see what 1985 brings. Jeltz, who batted .220 for Portland, is hitting .150 in his audition as the replacement for Ivan DeJesus, who has had a poor year defensively. Jeltz could get the job next year if the Phillies decide he can hit .220 in the bigs.
"The kid has the best actions of any shortstop who's come into the league since Ozzie Smith," says Hall of Fame shortstop Lou Boudreau, a Cubs broadcaster. "I can't believe how shallow he plays," says Philly manager Paul Owens.
As for Samuel, the offensive whirlwind who has committed 32 errors, Twins scout Ellis Clary is the latest to predict he'll be moved to centerfield in '85. "He's perfect for center," says Clary, "but he ain't a second baseman, nohow. He gets no jump on the ball, he doesn't anticipate well and he can't make the double play." Nonetheless, the Phillies say Samuel isn't moving anywhere.
When Dave Concepcion got three RBIs against the Giants last week, it was his first hat trick since April 27. As the press approached him after the game, Concepcion said "Go away. You guys haven't talked to me in a long time." To which Dave Parker said, "Aw, Davey, talk to them. Three ribbies from you doesn't happen but once every six months."...Ex-A's manager Steve Boros is scouting the Royals, a former employer, for playoff-bound San Diego. The Padres, by the way, have gone 15-23 since Aug. 6 but through Sunday had lost only one game off their lead. All those doubleheaders caught up with them, and the rest of the NL West stinks.... Former Houston stopper Joe Sambito, coming back after two years of elbow problems, doesn't understand why he hasn't pitched in any pressure situations since his May 25 return. Manager Bob Lillis says Sambito should be patient. "Next year I want him to be a stopper. That's been the plan all along."... Andre Dawson, who has played on a bum knee all year, might not need surgery after all. The decision—surgery or exercise—will be made after the season. Seems Dawson, who is finishing strongly (16 homers, 82 RBIs) after an abysmal start caused by his injury, will need only three months of rehab if he gets cut.
You're 29, a relief pitcher and your major league r�sum� is only 37 innings long. In August the team's ace reliever has surgery and you suddenly get a chance with a ball club going nowhere. Surprise, surprise, you save some games, and soon you're the stopper. But while you're saving a game, someone hits a nasty line drive off your left shoulder, your working shoulder. Do you come out?
"No way," said the Brewers' Ray Searage after Boston's Dwight Evans nailed him with a liner last week. "If I came out, it would have meant that they'd beaten me, that I was giving up, and I'm not going to let that happen. They're going to have to beat my pitches, or they're going to have to kill me."
Searage, who was called up Aug. 2 after Rollie Fingers went out, missed a couple of days with a sore shoulder but made it five saves in five opportunities in his first game back.
Remember the name Eric Davis. He's a 22-year-old righthand-hitting rookie outfielder for the Reds, and he'll be a household name in '85 if he keeps hitting tape-measure home runs. "He has a chance to be the best player around here," says player-manager Pete Rose.
Davis, who started the season with Triple A Wichita, was up for two weeks in May. Sent down for another month, he was promoted again on June 30. Since Sept. 3, Davis has seven homers in 44 at bats, including one off the upper facade in leftfield in Riverfront Stadium.