Ankle, not right, pain for Devo

March 16, 1994|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Right fielder Mike Devereaux struggled with another fly ball yesterday, but he doesn't want anyone to think that he is having trouble adjusting to his new position.

The truth is, he's been playing on a sprained right ankle all spring.

"I didn't tell anybody about it because I thought it would be all right by the time the season starts," he said. "The reason I mention it at all is because of what has been going down out there. Because I know that I can play right field. I know I can."

That has not gone well. Devereaux suffered two gashes in his face when he crashed into a fence on the opening day of the exhibition season. He also made two errors in a game last week.

In the fifth inning of yesterday's 7-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, he got a bad jump on a line drive by Cardinals outfielder Ray Lankford and played it into a triple. He first tried to explain it away as a ball he lost off the bat in the shirt-sleeve crowd, then decided it was time to come clean.

He sprained his right ankle during an off-season workout and has been playing on it all spring. The swelling still is apparent on the right side of the ankle.

"It affects every aspect of [playing right field]," he said. "You can't run as hard. When you get up to speed, you can't stop as fast. It makes you think about things other than the flight of the ball."

It provides a partial explanation for the awkward way Devereaux slammed face-first into the chain-link fence during the exhibition opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. He ended up with stitches in his lip and his forehead and missed several games.

Devereaux said he expects to be fully recovered by the start of the regular season, and he expects to be a very effective right fielder.

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