Braves will go to bat for Sanders, but may pass later World Series notebook

October 17, 1992|By Peter Schmuck and Milton Kent | Peter Schmuck and Milton Kent,Staff Writers

ATLANTA -- There is no mistaking that Atlanta Braves' management is angry at Deion Sanders for trying to play baseball and football last weekend and may leave him exposed to next month's expansion draft.

But they will not cut off their noses to spite their faces by leaving Sanders off their World Series roster.

"Deion is definitely on the roster. We never even had a doubt that he wouldn't be," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.

There had been speculation that the Braves would drop Sanders from their postseason roster after he broke an oral agreement not to play football for the Atlanta Falcons until after the Braves' season was over.

But to do so would have left the Braves one player short of the 25-man limit. Teams cannot add to their roster unless a player is injured.

Sanders, who hit .314 in 97 games this season and led the National League in triples with 14 and was an All-Pro cornerback for the Falcons, played offense and defense last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, then flew to Pittsburgh for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Sanders caught a pass for the Falcons and was seen limping after the football game, and did not make an appearance in the baseball playoff game.

Cox and general manager John Schuerholz said they expect Sanders, who is not speaking to the media, to be available exclusively for the Braves tomorrow in Game 2.

It would be highly improbable that Sanders could play footbaland baseball tomorrow because the Falcons will be playing the San Francisco 49ers in California at 4 p.m. EDT, and the Braves' game would begin about 1 1/2 hours after the football game ended.

Water fight

In other Deion developments, neither Sanders nor CBS TV analyst Tim McCarver would comment yesterday on the post-NL playoff Game 7 water fracas, in which Sanders dumped ice water on McCarver three times.

McCarver was doused by Sanders in apparent retaliation for critical comments made about the two-sport athlete for playing football and baseball last Sunday.

McCarver and CBS officials filed a complaint with National League president Bill White over the incident. White said he would look at the tape, but wouldn't decide whether to take action until after the World Series.

"It's in the hands of the league president. I'm not going to talk about anything else," McCarver said.

Winfield on the field

Blue Jays designated hitter Dave Winfield will not be the odd man out when the DH rule is not in effect. That much, manager Cito Gaston could say with assurance.

Winfield, who had 26 home runs and 107 RBI during the regular season, will move into the field for the games at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

First baseman John Olerud or playoff hero Candy Maldonado will have to step aside, depending on who is pitching for the Braves.

"If a lefty pitches, I might put Joe Carter at first base, sit John Olerud and play Candy Maldonado in the outfield," Gaston said during yesterday's World Series workout. "Against righties, Olerud would be back at first base.

"The only thing for sure is that Dave Winfield will be in the lineup for every game."

Winfield did not play a lot in the outfield this year, but Gaston knows what kind of leadership Winfield has provided on the way to the club's first American League pennant.

"He's a take-charge guy," Gaston said.

"He plays the game as hard as anyone I've seen. If you would have seen him in the spring, you would've thought he was a rookie trying to make our team.

"Honestly, when he plays the field I miss him on the bench because he's such a take-charge guy."

Alomar on a roll

Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar, the Most Valuable Player of the American League playoffs, was asked his impression of the Braves.

"They're going to lose," he said.

He actually went on to say a lot of complimentary things about the Braves, but why waste space on pleasantries?

Mulliniks might play

Veteran utility infielder Rance Mulliniks has batted just a handful of times this season, but Gaston left open the possibility that he will be activated for the World Series.

Mulliniks had two official at-bats during an injury-marred season, but Gaston may keep him as a pinch hitter and drop No. 4 catcher Tom Quinlan.

Why would he do such a thing? Gaston wouldn't say so, but it could be a ceremonial move, made in deference to Mulliniks' 11-year tenure with the club.

"There's a chance that we'd get Rance on the roster," Gaston said. "He could give us some innings at third base, and we could sure use his bat.

"Some people might view it as a sentimental move because he's been around so long, but that wouldn't be the sole reason we would do it."

Braves rotation

Braves manager Bobby Cox hasn't decided whether to go with a three- or four-man rotation. He'll go with Tom Glavine in the opener, John Smoltz in Game 2 and Steve Avery in Game 3, but won't know until tomorrow who will start Game 4.

"We'll decide on the starter for Game 4 after we see what kind of pitch count Glavine has in Game 1," Cox said.

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