A 's pitchers grudgingly enter batter's box

October 15, 1990|By Knight-Ridder

OAKLAND,CALIF. — OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland A's pitchers get to see how the other half lives and dies when the World Series opens tomorrow night in Cincinnati. They'll bat for the first time this season, and they're not happy about it.

Normally congenial Dave Stewart, the A's starting pitcher for Game 1, didn't even want to talk much about hitting as he sat in the clubhouse yesterday while his teammates worked out at the Oakland Coliseum.

"They take batting practice all year," Stewart said about his National League counterparts. "They have the advantage.

"All I can do is take my cuts or bunt."

Stewart is no stranger to batting. He was signed originally by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a catcher and spent parts of six seasons in the National League. Bob Welch, the A's starter for Game 2, spent 10 seasons with the Dodgers.

"It's like riding a bicycle," Welch said. "Once you do it, you don't forget how. I don't think their pitchers will have an advantage. Not if you make a good pitch."

Perhaps A's manager Tony La Russa was thinking about Ken Holtzman, who pitched for the Oakland dynasty that won three World Series starting in 1972. Holtzman went hitless in the '72 Series, then cracked three doubles and a homer in 1973 and 1974 combined.

While pondering the pitfalls of National League managing, La Russa has put his pitchers out for batting practice for the last three days they've worked out at Oakland Coliseum. This might not help that much. Even with all that batting in the National League, how many pitchers even get to .200?

"We don't expect them to really go up there and take hard swings," A's batting coach Merv Rettenmund said.

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