Pirates' Smith to start on 3 days' rest

October 14, 1991|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Correspondent

ATLANTA -- Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland has dTC decided to come back with left-hander Zane Smith in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Smith will be working on three days' rest today after suffering a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves' Steve Avery in Game 2 at Pittsburgh, the only run scoring on a bad-hop double by Mark Lemke.

The decision was made to "basically give Doug [Drabek] another day," said Smith, an ex-Brave whose five years in Atlanta were marked by weak fan support and last-place teams.

Drabek injured his left hamstring trying to stretch a double into a triple in Game 1. He has been undergoing treatment and is scheduled to pitch Game 6 in in Pittsburgh, if the game is necessary.

Smith said the short rest is nothing new.

"I think it will be the second or third time I've done it this season," he said. "I don't see any problem with it."

He has pitched once in this stadium this year, lasting 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing as a Pirates starter. The Braves won, 7-1.

Smith said he didn't feel he had his best stuff when he dueled Avery at Three Rivers Stadium.

"I made the big pitches when I had to," Smith said. "The key is to keep the Braves from having that big inning."

He completed seven innings, allowing eight hits and pitching out

of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the second.

Early-inning problems

Braves starter Tom Glavine, the 5-1 loser of Game 1, will be trying to guard against a slow start. He allowed three runs in the first three innings at Three Rivers.

"I can't say that that's not on my mind," he said of the early jinx. "But I've gone through things like this before. A couple of years ago, that was my big problem."

The 20-game winner said too much has been made of the speculation that pitching more than 250 innings has made him fatigued.

"I think there is going to be some tiredness," he said. "But the last three times out, I've felt strong. It's just a matter of not throwing enough strikes."

Twins have insight

Former Braves manager Russ Nixon has been scouting Atlanta for the Minnesota Twins, who clinched the American League championship yesterday.

Nixon was deposed 16 months ago in Atlanta as the team struggled through another last-place season. Hired by the Twins as a minor-league manager, he has firsthand knowledge of the Braves' personnel.

"It's just common sense," said Nixon. "If you've got somebody with specific knowledge about a team, why not use him? I would hope it gives me more of an insight into some of these guys than somebody coming in cold from outside."

Nixon said he rejoices in the development of the Braves' young pitchers and regrets he is not part of what is happening in Atlanta.

"I played with the only hand I had," he said. "The players I was given were all young."


Former President Carter, a native Georgian, threw out the ceremonial first pitch last night. Since leaving office 11 years ago, Carter has worked through the Carter Presidential Center to promote agricultural and health programs in Africa, monitored elections in countries working toward democracy and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. . . . Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, which opened for baseball April 12, 1966, is to be demolished after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. No logo has been painted onto the field for playoffs, but grounds crew chief Ed Mangan said, "We'll do that for the World Series."

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