Daulton back at work, grateful to be alive after Dykstra crash

May 14, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

PHILADELPHIA -- Wearing a Stormin' Norman T-shirt and a week's growth of beard, Philadelphia Phillies catcher Darren Daulton was back at Veterans Stadium yesterday, working out lightly for the first time since last week's car wreck.

He took batting practice beneath the stands, threw easily to Tug McGraw from about 90 feet, and spoke for the first time about the early morning events of May 6, when he and Len Dykstra were injured after Dykstra's new red Mercedes skidded into two trees in suburban Radnor Township.

Daulton told how a group of Phillies players started the evening of May 5 at the house of John Kruk, who was getting married the next day; how Phils pitcher Jason Grimsley had given Daulton a ride to Smokey Joe's bar; how Dykstra offered him a ride home, and how, after the accident, he found Dykstra in the back seat of the crashed Mercedes.

Daulton said that he still felt pain in his neck, his back and the back of his head, and that he hoped to be ready to play when he comes off the disabled list next Tuesday. But he said he wouldn't rush his recovery.

"I will not come off the disabled list if I can't see," said Daulton, who scratched his left cornea and fractured his left eye socket in the accident, and now has a scar forming over his left eye.

Daulton's vision when it was tested at Bryn Mawr Hospital was 20-20.

"I have a little blurry [vision] to the left. But I was hitting today, and it didn't bother me at all."

Daulton said he knew how fortunate he and Dykstra had been, "especially after seeing the car. We could have checked out very early."

He said Kruk shouldn't feel any guilt about the accident: "It's not his fault. John shouldn't feel bad about that. He didn't have anything to do with [the gathering]. He didn't have anything to do with getting it together. We kind of dragged him out."

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