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"Ron has helped me and the club a lot," says Lefebvre. "A manager needs someone to kick around ideas with. Most every manager has someone next to him. There's too much going on out there for one man to cover everything. Sometimes you're thinking so far ahead in the game you forget about now, and vice versa."
Lefebvre brought in Clark, a coach with the White Sox last year, to be an infield coach. But Clark's job entails more than positioning the defense. Among other duties, he clocks opposing pitchers' deliveries to the plate with runners on base. That helps Lefebvre to determine whether or not to have a base runner attempt to steal. The Mariners have been more aggressive on the base paths this year because of Clark's influence.
"I make suggestions, Jimmy makes the decisions," says Clark. "I just try to prepare him for anything that might happen. I figure that two heads are better than one."
Clark says he and Lefebvre rarely disagree, but then he adds with a smile, "Sometimes I go to him and say, 'You managed a terrible game tonight. We got shut out. It's your fault.' "
Padres catcher Benito Santiago is a marvelous talent, but will he ever completely realize his potential? In the fourth inning of a 4-0 victory over the Astros last Thursday, Santiago was yanked from the game by manager Greg Riddoch for failing to run out a ground ball. The move was applauded by San Diego general manager Joe McIlvaine, who said, "I think it's great. If guys don't want to hustle, get them out."...
A sure sign of a man in a terrible slump: At week's end Red Sox designated hitter Jack Clark had struck out 15 times looking....
The Red Sox and Blue Jays are each shopping for a starting pitcher, and both have inquired about Tim Leary of the Yankees....
The Mets' unsettled infield situation should be helped by an exchange of utility infielders that took place last Saturday, when New York sent Tim Teufel to the Padres for Garry Templeton. Templeton is the better defensive player and can play short in the late innings if Kevin Elster is lifted for a pinch hitter. Teufel, who hit a three-run homer in his first at bat for San Diego, will get a chance to solve the Padres' woes at second, where they've already unsuccessfully tried four other players this season....
At the 11th hour on Sunday, the Red Sox signed Frankie Rodriguez, a second-rounder in the 1990 draft but Boston's first pick overall, to a one-year contract with a $250,000 signing bonus. If the Sox hadn't signed Rodriguez, he could have been drafted by another team in this year's draft....