Rookie Eiland makes good pitch with Yankees

September 12, 1990|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- All around him, there seemed to be the kind of unhappiness and upheaval that swirls through the New York VTC Yankees clubhouse even in the best of times. Dave Eiland simply pulled up a chair in front of his locker, though, and thumbed casually through the pages of a magazine, apparently oblivious to the developing controversy.

By Yankees standards, it wasn't much. Dave LaPoint and Andy Hawkins, told they were losing their places in the pitching rotation so that Eiland and Steve Adkins could start, reacted angrily.

They didn't have much argument at Yankee Stadium Monday night, however.

Eiland, one of nine rookies called up Sunday from the Yankees' Class AAA Columbus affiliate, pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings against the Texas Rangers, but left without getting a decision.

The game was decided in the 11th inning when Rafael Palmeiro singled off Lee Guetterman to give Texas a 1-0 victory that sent the Yankees to their fifth consecutive loss and 10th in 11 games.

The Rangers' Scott Chiamparino, making his second major-league start after being acquired from the Oakland Athletics in the Harold Baines deal, worked seven innings, giving up four hits.

"You can't pitch any better than he pitched," New York manager Stump Merrill said of Eiland, who last year taught himself to throw a sinker that resulted in 15 ground outs against the Rangers. "It's a shame we didn't get him a run. He'll definitely get more of a look. We have to see what we have for next season."

Eiland said he felt he was ready to make a major jump.

"This is my third time here," he said. "I've paid my dues down there and now I need to get an opportunity here like everybody else."

Eiland's start signaled another step in the Yankees' continuing youth movement, but the decision to use both him and Adkins ruffled two pitchers who will lose starts in the coming weeks and could be offered in trades this winter.

Neither LaPoint -- who did not learn of the change until after he arrived at the park late in the afternoon -- nor Hawkins accepted the move happily, but Gene Michael, the Yankees general manager, did not offer apologies.

"I understand he has feelings, but from a good business standpoint we have to see these kids," Michael said after meeting with LaPoint. "We had to pick somebody, and we picked Hawkins and LaPoint."

Part of the reason is their records -- LaPoint is 7-10 this season, Hawkins 5-12 -- but another is simply the fact that the Yankees wanted to keep the others in the rotation. Mike Witt was injured part of the season and needs the work, Tim Leary will likely return if he can be signed this winter, and Chuck Cary carries trade value.

There have been few inquiries about LaPoint or Hawkins, who have had difficulties but who are earning sizable salaries. Both are in the second year of three-year contracts they signed as free agents. LaPoint is being paid $850,000, Hawkins $1 million.

"This is one time I wish Mr. Steinbrenner was still around so I could sit down and have a good talk with him and find out what's going on," LaPoint said. "I guarantee you we won't get any straight answers the rest of the year."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.