Drabek says plans not affected by Pirates' cost-cutting moves National League notes

March 21, 1992

Former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek says the Pittsburgh Pirates' salary slashing and unsettled future won't affect whether he re-signs or becomes a free agent.

Several cost-cutting moves by Pirates ownership to reduce the payroll before Opening Day -- John Smiley's trade and Bill Landrum's release -- have left some players unsettled and uncertain about the team's direction.

"It's like 'Let's Make a Deal' around here," catcher Mike LaValliere said. "We keep waiting to see what's behind Door No. 3."

Drabek, who has continued attempts to negotiate a new contract even as the Pirates moved to reduce their estimated $34 million payroll, isn't more reluctant to re-sign despite the economic cuts.

He also won't spend time worrying if the Pirates he might pitch for in 1993 will resemble the National League East champions he pitched for in 1990 and 1991.

"We were all surprised by [Smiley]. You hate to lose a 20-game winner and a good friend," he said. "I don't know what they're thinking about doing or what their plan is. I'm just trying to concentrate on what I've got to do."

Drabek, 29, rejected a four-year offer estimated at $18.25 million, but hasn't imposed a deadline when he must be signed.

General manager Ted Simmons said signing Drabek to a long-term contract is his chief priority and there is no chance the Pirates will trade him or Barry Bonds rather than risk losing them to free agency, as they did with Smiley.

* PADRES: Pitcher Ed Whitson returned to camp carrying the results of tests done in Ohio on his right elbow. They showed no ligament or tendon damage, though tendinitis may be causing fluid. Doctors will determine Whitson's prognosis this weekend.

* PHILLIES: Manager Jim Fregosi said first baseman John Kruk didn't suffer a shoulder separation when he dived for a ground ball Tuesday. The manager characterized the injury as a strain.

Shortstop Kim Batiste, who has been sidelined since Tuesday with a strained hamstring, is almost ready to play.

* METS: Dwight Gooden, making his "A" game debut after rotator cuff surgery, allowed five earned runs and three hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Astros.

"I may have overthrown a couple balls but that's a good sign because if I was feeling pain I wouldn't be able to do that," he said.

* CUBS: Indians officials indicated the club plans to file a grievance about the lineup Chicago brought to Tucson, Ariz., for an exhibition game yesterday, saying the Cubs had violated the unwritten rule about fielding a representative team. But Chicago won, 3-2.

* BRAVES: The National League defending champion has more than tripled its season-ticket sales over the 1991 season, selling the equivalent of 15,253 -- including full season, weekend plans and 20-game lineups.

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