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In 1987, at age 19, pitcher Steve Gasser was the jewel of the Twins' farm system. However, after being promoted from Double A to Triple A near the end of that season, he began losing his control. Minnesota traded Gasser to the Mets in 1988, and the problem just got worse. In his first appearance with Class A Columbia this season, he walked 11 batters and threw seven wild pitches in one inning. When New York released him on May 22, he had given up 21 walks and had thrown 13 wild pitches in six innings. "We were at the end of the line. We had exhausted all possibilities," says Gerry Hunsicker, the Mets' minor league director. "He had as good stuff as anyone in our system, but...."
Nobody is sure why Gasser came down with Steve Blass disease. "After that one inning this year, I thought about hanging it up," says Gasser, "but I threw well in the pen the next day. I couldn't quit. If I couldn't throw hard or didn't have the bite on the curveball, I'd hang it up now. But if it's in me, there's a way to get it out." The Braves apparently agree. On May 30, they signed Gasser to a minor league contract.
Royals catcher Bob Boone, sidelined with a broken right index finger, is on the disabled list for the first time in his 18-year major league career. Giants catcher Terry Kennedy has never been on the DL in his 13 seasons. Then there's Mariners catcher Dave Valle. He is on the DL for the 11th time in 12 seasons in the majors and the minors. This time Valle suffered a cracked rib in a collision with Toronto catcher Pat Borders on May 17.
Valle, who is only 29, has also been disabled with a lacerated right hand, a dislocated right ring finger, a sprained left wrist, a strained left knee, fractured ribs, torn ligaments in his right knee, a bruised left thigh, a hip pointer, a bone bruise in his left hand and torn ligaments in his right knee. His injuries come from playing the game very hard. "It's never been little nicks—I play with those," says Valle. "By the time I'm finished playing, I'm going to have a suit of armor on. But at this rate, I'll stretch out [the injuries] and play until I'm 50."
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