PITTSBURGH — Hamstring injury may prevent Drabek from next playoff start
PITTSBURGH -- The status of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Doug Drabek remained uncertain yesterday.
Drabek started and won Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night and is scheduled to come back in Game 5 Monday at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium.
But he strained his left hamstring while trying to stretch his run-scoring double into a triple in the bottom of the sixth inning and had to leave the game.
Drabek is undergoing treatment and is "50-50" to make the start, said Pirates manager Jim Leyland.
"We want to do what is right and I will not trust what he says because he's optimistic. I know he wants to go out there."
Leyland said jokingly: "I will kick him there [in the injured area] 10 times before I put him on the mound. If he flinches once, he won't pitch."
If Drabek cannot go, either Bob Walk or Randy Tomlin will start Game 4, an assignment that was undecided, with the other pitcher going in Game 5.
"I won't in any way, shape or form take a chance of altering his delivery and hurting Doug's arm for the rest of his life," said Leyland.
Winning cures all?
In his column yesterday for the Pittsburgh Press, Barry Bonds made no mention of his comments before the series when he told the nation's media that Andy Van Slyke was the "Great White Hope" and that Bobby Bonilla deserved more money than Van Slyke.
His follow-up was simply an analysis of Game 1, and Bonds wrote Van Slyke "is going to be a big key in this series for us. . . ."
The rambling discourse on a variety of topics was vintage Bonds, and he admitted he plays better when controversy is in the air.
Pirates general manager Larry Doughty said he wasn't "going to react to" Bonds' implication that the organization was racist. Leyland said, "Let me just say that Bobby was offered more money by the front office."
Van Slyke received a three-year, $12.6 million contract extension. Bonilla has rejected offers of $13.5 million over three years and $16.8 million over four years because he is convinced he can do much better on the open market.
In a separate column, the Pittsburgh Press quoted Bonds as saying "I've said that to his [Van Slyke's] face many times. It's no big deal. I'm not the kind of guy to talk behind someone's back.
"I wouldn't want to play with anyone else. I have great respect for Andy Van Slyke. We're always saying things around here to see how the media reacts."
During the NL playoffs last year, Bonds accused third baseman Jeff King of malingering.
Leyland said, "I don't think anybody's serious. They say things and do things that probably helps more than it hurts. I'd venture to say this has been a happier clubhouse than any in baseball."
No change in strategy
The Braves planned to continue to play aggressive baseball, although Mark Lemke's aborted attempt to reach third base on Gary Redus' error may have cost them a chance to be competitive in Game 1.
The ball shot past Redus into the right-field corner, and Lemke was out on a relay play. The next two batters walked and singled.
"We were trying to make something happen," said Lemke. If I get there, it could be the start of a big inning."
"We've been aggressive all year. If we stop now, we're in trouble," said Braves third baseman Terry Pendleton.
Pirates shortstop Jay Bell made a great play backing up when Bonilla overthrew the cutoff man, Jose Lind. Bell caught the ball and relayed for the out.
First-pitch honors last night went to Scott May, 17-year-old son of Pirates hitting instructor Milt May. The teen-ager was critically injured in an auto accident in Florida last Christmas eve. He was in a coma for two weeks but made a miraculous recovery. He was drafted by the Pirates last June. In addition, a moment of silence was observed in honor of Leo Durocher, who died Monday. . . . Walk's save in Game 1 was his first since Aug. 2, 1990. He has just 3 saves in his career during the regular season. . . . Drabek's 6 shutout innings lowered his playoff ERA to 1.21, third best in history among pitchers with at least 20 innings. He is tied with former Pirate Bruce Kison.