Unfortunately, Robinson has little else to work with. San Francisco has a history of bringing up players with considerable promise who never bloom. Such was First Baseman Rich Murray's potential that Willie McCovey retired in midseason to make way for him: Murray was hampered by pulled hand ligaments and batted only .216. This year the Giants will try Cabell at first, leaving Darrell Evans at third. The odd man out is Mike Ivie, who could play left if it weren't for Jerry Martin, late of the Cubs. Elsewhere, Robinson has a $1 million infield at second base alone; Rennie Stennett ($600,000 a year) and Morgan ($400,000). Morgan will start.
The Giants could improve marginally if starters Vida Blue (14-10), Ed Whitson (11-13) and Alexander (14-11) have good years and rookie Fred Breining pitches as well during the season as he did in Arizona. Thanks to its excellent bullpen, San Francisco placed a respectable fourth in the league with a 3.46 ERA. Righthander Greg Minton had 19 saves, and Al Holland, a gem mined from the Pittsburgh organization, added seven more and a sparkling 1.76 ERA. The stocky Holland made maximum use of a fastball that can sail, tail—or nail—a righthanded batter.
The atmosphere in San Diego is almost festive. If the Padres lost their name players—Leftfielder Dave Winfield to free agency and Reliever Rollie Fingers and Catcher Gene Tenace in a trade with St. Louis—they also lost three unhappy souls who depressed both the clubhouse and their overmatched manager, Jerry Coleman. What's left are young players eager to establish reputations and a popular—but tough—new manager in Frank Howard. Howard literally grew in stature with his hiring; he was 6'7" during his playing career but is listed at 6'8" in the Padre press guide. His brightest new pupil is Catcher Terry Kennedy, who was acquired in the Tenace-Fingers deal. An outstanding but little-used prospect in St. Louis, Kennedy batted .254 in 84 games. "I'll catch every inning of every game if they want me to," he says. "I'm not worried about hitting or throwing. The most important contribution I can make is to help the team's young pitchers."
Despite their last-place finish, the Padres attracted 1,139,026 paying customers. Holdovers from that team include Shortstop Ozzie Smith and Leftfielder Gene Richards, who stole 57 and 61 bases respectively. Smith also won a Gold Glove, setting a major league record for shortstops with 621 assists, including 12 in a single day. "I want to add numbers onto my batting average but not sacrifice anything on defense," says Smith, who hit .230 but reached base 71 times on walks. Two former Yankees complete the outfield, Ruppert Jones in center (.223 last year) and Joe Lefebvre in right (.227).
Second Baseman Juan Bonilla, acquired last week from Cleveland, is an excellent fielder. Third Baseman Luis Salazar hit .337 in 44 games after coming up from Hawaii. And new First Baseman Randy Bass is a minor league legend who had 150 hits, 143 RBIs and 37 homers in only 123 games at Denver last season. Finally reaching the majors at age 27, Bass will supply whatever power the Padre lineup packs.
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