NEW YORK -- New York Yankees manager Joe Torre has agonized for days over the makeup of his starting lineup for the opener of the American League Division Series tonight against the Texas Rangers, and he still wasn't ready to name his designated hitter yesterday.
Should he go with Cecil Fielder, who clearly is one of the most dangerous hitters of the 1990s? Or Darryl Strawberry, who has a good -- if limited -- record against Texas Rangers Game 1 starter John Burkett?
"I'm trying to digest as much information as I can," Torre said at yesterday's news conference at Yankee Stadium. "It's a tossup. Darryl has good numbers vs. Burkett, and Cecil is our quote-unquote designated hitter."
Strawberry has five hits in eight career at-bats against Burkett. Fielder has never faced him in a regular-season game. Torre said that he hoped to be able to tell one of them his decision after yesterday's workouts, but did not reveal his decision to the media.
"Darryl Strawberry said to me yesterday, 'I understand what decision you have to make, and I know what Big Daddy has done,' so it's a pretty unselfish thing," Torre said. "It'll be based on a lot of different ingredients."
Much was made of Game 1 starter David Cone's seven-inning no-hit performance in his first start after returning from surgery to remove an aneurysm from his right arm, but he said yesterday that he is not as happy with the way he has pitched since then.
"The first game back was my best game," he said. "Does that concern me? It always concerns you. It's just a matter of turning it up a notch."
Of course, it's all relative. Cone was 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA in his four post-surgical appearances.
Spy in the sky
The Yankees have sent Chuck Cottier as one of the three advance scouts to follow the Orioles/Cleveland Indians series. Cottier knows the Orioles well, of course, because he was on Phil Regan's coaching staff last year. He will be joined at Camden Yards by former Yankees general manager Gene Michael and Wade Taylor.
The Yankees and Rangers set their playoff rosters yesterday, choosing 25 players from those who were either on the active roster or on the disabled list on Aug. 31.
The Yankees, as expected, left Dwight Gooden off the roster for the Division Series and will go instead with reliever David Weathers. Left-handed pitcher Graeme Lloyd, infielder Luis Sojo and Andy Fox were the other bubble players included for the first playoff round. The Rangers placed pitcher Kevin Gross on the disabled list and replaced him with reliever Dan Patterson.
Pub Date: 10/01/96