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Then there's Minnesota manager Tom Kelly, who says, "I've never read the 'book,' but I know it's out there." Kelly is daring and aggressive, and will violate the book in certain situations. " Columbus took a chance," he says.
Regarding second-guessers, Kelly says, "If you're afraid, get a dog and drag it around with you. Some managers get into a losing streak and then go strictly by the book. If it says bunt, they bunt because they don't want to hear about it later."
On Aug. 19, Kelly put four infielders on the right side against Toronto's Fred McGriff, a lefthanded pull hitter. McGriff beat the strategy with a line-drive single to right center, but Kelly defended the overshift. "Why, in our ballpark [with the short rightfield fence] would he want to hit the ball the other way?" said Kelly. "I should have put a short fielder out there, too, like in softball."
PERILS OF YOUTH
Atlanta, with all its young players, just keeps getting worse. The Braves are on pace to become the first National League team since the 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers to finish with an ERA a full run higher than the league average. The problem isn't manager-general manager Bobby Cox, but speculation persists that he won't be back next year, in either capacity....
The Cardinals' decision to move Willie McGee to rightfield and put rookie Ray Lankford in center is another sign that McGee won't be in St. Louis next season. He's eligible for free agency, and the Cardinals don't appear too concerned about losing the possible winner of the National League batting crown....
With an eye toward 1991, the Angels are working out Dave Winfield at first base and outfielder Dante Bichette at third. That increases the chances that first baseman Wally Joyner will be traded in the off-season. California needs a third baseman. Jack Howell, who is at Triple A Edmonton, isn't the answer....
Red Sox catcher Tony Pena is such an unorthodox free swinger that he sometimes takes a couple of steps toward the ball before swinging. "I call it the Curly Shuffle," he says. Still, Pena had two three-walk games last week, which is as many as he had in his first 10 years in the major leagues....
San Diego Charger defensive end Burt Grossman is writing a no-holds-barred column for the San Diego Union. He has been especially tough on Padres third baseman Mike Pagliarulo, calling him a "stiff" and "Paglisomething."...Last Saturday at Tiger Stadium, Detroit first baseman Cecil Fielder hit homers number 40 and 41, off Oakland's Dave Stewart, and the second blow cleared the roof in leftfield. Only Harmon Killebrew and Frank Howard had ever accomplished that feat. Through Sunday, Fielder had 108 RBIs, which means that he has a chance to drive in more runs than the top two Tiger RBI men ( Lou Whitaker and Chet Lemon) had between them last year (132)....