Still hobbled, Bo may know everything but when it's time to step down, slowly


March 08, 1992|By PETER SCHMUCK

Bo knows.

He hobbled down to first base after delivering a base hit in an intrasquad game Wednesday and everybody else knew, too. He struggled down the base line a couple more times during the Chicago White Sox's exhibition opener on Thursday and removed all doubt.

It's sad. It's unfortunate. It will be over soon.

Bo Jackson has made a career of proving people wrong, but last week he proved that the doctors in Kansas City were right. His injured hip has not healed sufficiently to carry him around the bases, much less through the rigors of a 162-game season.

The White Sox have asked waivers on Jackson in what may be a technical move to define his roster status. In the meantime, they reportedly are talking to free-agent slugger Dave Parker about the designated hitter role that Jackson was supposed to fill.

Before the waiver announcement, Jackson was hinting that the terms of his contract were negotiable. He wants so badly to keep going, even as it becomes more obvious by the day that it is not in his best interest to keep pounding away at that deteriorating hip.

He keeps trying to run without a limp when he should be more worried about walking without crutches. Lord knows, he doesn't need the money. He doesn't need any of this.

' Bo, just stop doing it.


Mystery man: Former Orioles third baseman Craig Worthington remains a man of mystery. No one ever really knew what was going on in his head, and now it is becoming apparent that he wasn't even sure which city he was playing in.

Worthington took no parting shots when he was traded to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Jim Lewis and outfielder Steve Martin three weeks ago, but he leveled a sweeping blow at Baltimore recently that missed the target almost entirely.

"This [San Diego] is a whole lot different than Baltimore," Worthington told the Los Angeles Times. "The people there were so bitter about losing the football team that they took it out on the baseball team. We could win 20 games in a row, but once we lost that one game, they'd boo. Really I think this will be perfect."

Is it me, or did Worthington get the thing turned completely around? The Orioles were the No. 2 sports team in Baltimore until the Colts left. They were also the team that lost 21 games in a row to begin the 1988 season and then got a standing ovation when they returned to Memorial Stadium after their first victory.

Worthington apparently wasn't paying attention, though he was around for the end of the record losing streak and for the magical "Why not?" run in 1989. Perhaps that is why he is not around now.


Remarkable recovery: Former Detroit Tigers outfielder Chet Lemon visited the club's Lakeland, Fla., spring camp this week, just months after a rare stomach disorder nearly ended his life.

Lemon was rushed to a hospital in Gainesville, Fla., last August with what was diagnosed as a blood clot in his stomach. His weight dropped to 167 pounds and doctors did not hold out much hope for his recovery.

"Usually, when they find this, is when they are doing an autopsy," Lemon told reporters. "I was afraid to sleep. I thought I was out of here. The consensus was that my chances were very slim. I wasn't going to make it."

Lemon remains on blood-thinning medication, which has restricted his activities, but he is back up to his playing weight of 190 pounds.


The non-roster revolution revisited: There are at least 175 non-roster players with big-league experience in major-league camps this spring, and more than 80 of them are pitchers. Every team has at least one pitcher with big-league experience in camp as a non-roster player, which lends credence to the notion that the widespread move toward Triple-A contracts for veteran players is not a coincidence.

Remember the free agent freeze-out of 1986-87? This is starting to look like the free agent farm-out of 1991-92. The top-flight players still are signing for the big dollars and the remaining roster spots are going to players at the lowest end of the salary scale.

"It's just like the taxpayer, the middle class is getting squeezed pretty good," Toronto Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick said recently.

The Major League Players Association is on alert, but union director Don Fehr said that he's waiting to see how many of the non-roster players stay around for Opening Day.

"If they all do," he said, "it would be an indication that they have more value than anyone thought."


Divine intervention: Padres manager Greg Riddoch called a night intrasquad game for Thursday, but he would live to regret the unorthodox workout. A transformer blew in the ninth inning and knocked out power all over the club's Yuma, Ariz., training facility.


Three-peat or bust: If veteran right-hander Jack Morris can lead the Toronto Blue Jays to the World Series, he would be only the fifth pitcher to appear in the Series as a member of three different teams.

The others:

* Joe Bush -- 1913-14 Philadelphia Athletics, 1918 Boston Red Sox and 1922-23 New York Yankees.

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