CINCINNATI -- The Oakland Athletics waited until yesterday to make a decision on the roster status of injured shortstop Walt Weiss, but the club apparently has known all along that he would not be available for the World Series.
There was no deceit involved. Manager Tony La Russa said he would wait as long as possible out of deference to Weiss, but team doctors suspected last week that Weiss would need three to four weeks for the injury -- diagnosed as a sprained medial collateral ligament -- to heal. Now there is talk that he might
require surgery to repair the damage.
Weiss was injured when he caught his left foot under a sliding Ellis Burks of the Boston Red Sox in the second game of the American League Championship Series. He left the field under his own power and underwent tests after the club returned to Oakland, Calif., last Monday. Team orthopedist Dr. Rick Bost advised the club to hold him out of the remainder of the playoff series, but the team left open the slim possibility that he might return to action this week. That disappeared yesterday.
"His condition is not good," La Russa said. "I don't think there's any chance he'll suit up, which just proves that there isn't any justice in this game."
Weiss and trainer Barry Weinberg said yesterday that arthroscopic knee surgery is a distinct possibility.
"It's a possibility," Weinberg said, "but that's for the doctor to decide. It's not out of the question."
The A's will replace Weiss on the roster with minor-league infielder Mike Bordick, who was up and down a couple of times with the A's this year.
* La Russa isn't too concerned about the supposed advantage the Reds will have playing on artificial turf, not after the A's ran up a 16-9 record on carpeting this season.
"I don't think we're at a disadvantage at all," he said. "Look at our record."
The only time the A's will be at a disadvantage at Riverfront Stadium, he said, is when one of his pitchers picks up a bat.
"That's only thing I'm concerned about right now," La Russa said. "Seeing the pitchers with a bat in their hands, asking them to get a hit or get down a bunt, that's what I'm a little uncomfortable with. But they're athletes."
* Athletics outfielders Willie McGee and Jose Canseco both took part in yesterday's workout and both appear to be ready to play.
Canseco, who has been bothered by back soreness and a sprained finger on his right hand, said he was "90 percent." The swelling in his hand has gone down substantially, and the back soreness apparently has subsided.
McGee has been bothered by a strained rib cage muscle, which he suffered during the playoffs, but did not seem inhibited during the workout. How he feels today could determine whether he or Dave Henderson starts in center field.
* Cincinnati outfielder Eric Davis has been playing with soreness in his shoulder and says he will undergo an arthroscopic cleanup job after the World Series.
The injury has changed his approach at the plate, but he remains one of the most dangerous hitters in the Reds lineup.
"When I go to the plate now, I think of the situation we're in," he said. "If it's a close game and no one is on base, I'm thinking extra-base hit. If the bases are loaded, I'm thinking, 'Just put the bat on the ball.' It's different. Normally, I'm a free swinger."
* Reds pitcher Jose Rijo credits much of his development to advice from his father-in-law, all-time pitching great Juan Marichal.
"He helped me learn how to concentrate and how to prepare for a start," said Rijo, who has had a winning record in each of the three years since he was acquired from the A's for Dave Parker. "He looked at me and said, 'We don't need to work on your pitches; we just need to work on your concentration.'
"That was the big thing for me to learn -- concentration. It didn't take very long, but it meant a lot. After that, I became a pitcher."
* All-Star Game starter Jack Armstrong of the Reds did not make an appearance in the playoffs, but manager Lou Piniella said he will be available to pitch in long relief.
Armstrong was on his way to a great season when elbow soreness forced him onto the disabled list in August. He returned in September, but not to the starting rotation.
* Davis on Rickey Henderson: "He's probably the most electrifying player in the game. But Oakland doesn't need Rickey. They have so many weapons, they don't even need him."