Jackson waits on action before reaction Spring Training Civil rights leader wants to see plans

March 08, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rainbow Coalition leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson met with members of the Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals after yesterday's game to brief them on the civil rights group's efforts for affirmative action in baseball.

Jackson, who is touring major-league camps, did not go into specifics of his message, but said any action taken by the group would be dictated by reports it gets from baseball within the next 10 days.

"We want to see what their plans are," Jackson said when asked about the group's plans for possible Opening Day boycotts. "We want to see goals, targets and timetables.

"We want to see, before Opening Day, a plan for affirmative action for each team to end the matter of locking out [in minority hiring practices]."

Jackson said he expects to hear from the committee appointed by Bud Selig, head of baseball's ruling Executive Council, in the next few days.

"We [Rainbow Coalition] are going to have a meeting in about 10 days with people from the 26 [major-league] cities," he said. "We'll assess and determine then what action to take.

"In some cases, it may call for pickets. In others, it could mean targeting [sponsors'] products for a boycott. If they [baseball] don't have a plan, we have a plan."

Jackson said his group preferred "cooperation to confrontation," but reasserted that baseball needs to improve its hiring record in the "power positions."

Before the meeting, Jackson said that black players need to be more vocal on affirmative-action issues. "They have stayed too silent for too long because they think they're going to get a break that they're not going to get," he said.

Jackson did not get to meet with the full squads of the Orioles and Cardinals because many either were not scheduled to play or already had left Al Lang Stadium. The meeting was not mandatory, but for "anybody who was interested," said Orioles manager Johnny Oates, who attended.

Pitching plans

Anthony Telford, John O'Don- oghue and Fernando Valenzuela, the only pitchers in the Orioles camp who haven't pitched under game conditions, are scheduled to work this week.

O'Donoghue, who missed the intrasquad games because of the flu, will follow starter Arthur Rhodes to the mound against the Kansas CityRoyals today in Haines City.

Telford, who was scratched from the camp games because of a slight pull in his back, and Valenzuela, who worked out for the first time a week ago today, threw 10 minutes of batting practice yesterday.

"The plan right now is for Telford to pitch tomorrow [against the Philadelphia Phillies]," said Oates. "Fernando will throw once more on the side, and then we'll work him in."

Telford and Valenzuela threw batting practice for 10 minutes yesterday at the club's training complex. Neither reported difficulties.

Mike Flanagan, who developed tenderness in his shoulder after pitching two innings in an intrasquad game Thursday, is scheduled to throw on the side tomorrow and will be ready to pitch Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

"If I had tried to pitch through it now, it might never get right," said Flanagan, who got an injection in his shoulder. "This way, I have a better chance of getting it behind me."

McDonald takes loss

Ben McDonald gave up five hits, four of them in the first inning, when the Cardinals scored twice with two outs, and was the losing pitcher in

yesterday's 3-0 defeat.

"I threw some bad breaking pitches, but I felt good, and that's the most important thing," said the right-hander. "Four of their hits came on off-speed stuff, which is what I've got to work on at this time.

"I was getting ahead of the hitters, and usually when I do that, I don't have any trouble, but today I wasn't finishing them off."

Steve Searcy, Mike Oquist and Jim Poole also pitched two innings apiece, and Mike Cook finished. Oquist gave up an unearned run on a sixth-inning error by second baseman Mark McLemore.

Baines quiet in debut

Harold Baines made his first appearance of the spring, going 0-for-2 as the designated hitter. The Orioles, who scored one run in two weekend games against the Cardinals, had six hits, with nobody collecting more than one.

Cal Ripken singled in his first at-bat and is 4-for-6 in three games.

For starters . . .

Rick Sutcliffe will make his second start against the Phillies tomorrow, and Mike Mussina will start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.

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