If Washington gets team, it would be the Nationals

April 09, 1991

Hey, how did the Washington Nationals do yesterday?

Washington Nationals?

If Washington gets one of two National League expansion franchises in 1993, that would be the team's name, John Akridge, president of Metropolitan Washington Baseball, announced yesterday.

The developer, who heads the syndicate working to bring baseball back to the nation's capital in 1993, previously had said he did not favor calling the team the Senators.

A season-ticket drive begins in the Washington area today, and the syndicate is confident that pledges for at least 30,000 seats will be made.

* TIGERS: Outfielder Pete Incaviglia was a cheerleader for his new team's opener against the New York Yankees. Incaviglia, released by the Texas Rangers last week, agreed to a one-year deal with Detroit late Sunday night.

The addition of Incaviglia gives the Tigers one of the top home-run lineups and strikeout lineups in baseball. Cecil Fielder hit 51 homers and struck out 182 times last year, both American League highs. Rob Deer, with the Milwaukee Brewers last season, had 27 homers and 147 strikeouts, Mickey Tettleton, with the Baltimore Orioles, had 15 homers and 160 strikeouts, and Incaviglia had 24 homers and 146 strikeouts.

* ATHLETICS: After a spring training filled with a contract squabble and a shoulder injury, Rickey Henderson begins the season tonight three shy of Lou Brock's record of 938 career steals. Henderson picked up his workload the last few days of the exhibition season and is expected to play against the Minnesota Twins.

The A's, meanwhile, will be trying to become the first team in 27 years to win four consecutive American League pennants. The 1960-64 Yankees won five in a row.

* INDIANS: Keith Hernandez underwent successful back surgery, but is unlikely to play before the All-Star break.

Hernandez was put on the 15-day disabled list last week. He signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Indians in December 1989, but was limited to 43 games last season because of a calf injury. He hit .200 with one homer and eight RBI.

* WHITE SOX: Bo Jackson says he'll be an uneasy spectator as the season opens but that he looks forward to the time when he will be able to prove his new bosses right and his old ones wrong.

In a bylined story atop the op-ed page of The New York Times yesterday, the two-sport star said his recuperation from a hip injury that could threaten his athletic career would temporarily limit his physical activity to hunting, fishing and rehabilitative swimming.

That won't last forever, Jackson said.

"I've always had dreams of things I could do in baseball, things no one has ever done, dreams about home runs and stolen bases I've kept to myself," he wrote. "And now that I've had a scare, now that I've been slowed down -- temporarily -- I want more than ever to make those dreams come true."

Jackson, an All-Star selection in baseball and football, was released by the Kansas City Royals last month, when their team doctor said a football injury to his hip might never heal sufficiently for him to go back on the field.

Last week, however, Chicago signed Jackson to a one-year contract with two option years that could pay him a total of $8.15 million plus bonuses.

"If I had to, I could live without baseball, without football, without the cheers and without the boos," Jackson wrote. "But I've got something to show the Chicago White Sox for believing in me. I've got something to show the Kansas City Royals for not.

"I'm glad I'm still in the American League West, glad I'll get 13 chances a season to show the Royals what a dumb mistake they made."

* PIRATES: Andy Van Slyke's new $12.65 million contract is a done deal, but any chances Pittsburgh had of signing Bobby Bonilla any time soon appear to have come undone.

Pirates president Carl Barger and general manager Larry Doughty said yesterday that they've made their final financial pitch to Bonilla, who has rejected a four-year, $16 million offer.

"I think the issue is settled," Barger said. "We hope he has a marvelous year and that he gets what he thinks he will command after the season."

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