Relax, Bo: You're not in Leyland's DH plans Marlins manager won't put Bonilla in O's role he hated

October 18, 1997|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

MIAMI THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE. — MIAMI -- Florida Marlins manager Jim Leyland knows when to avoid a hot-button issue. He immediately quashed speculation yesterday that third baseman Bobby Bonilla would be the designated hitter when the World Series shifts to Cleveland on Tuesday night.

"I can tell you one thing for sure," Leyland said. "Bonilla, unless he can't play at all, will not DH. I don't want to get that started. He will play third base."

Leyland obviously is aware of what happened to Bonilla when Orioles manager Davey Johnson put him in the DH role at the beginning of the 1996 season. Bonilla slumped badly and complained bitterly, at one point -- with the club on an 11-2 roll -- predicting his eventual departure from Baltimore if Johnson did not put him back in the outfield.

Bonilla has played regularly at third base this year, but the question was raised because he has been hobbled by a hamstring injury. He said yesterday that his leg continues to be a problem, but not enough of one to prevent him from playing in his first World Series.

"It feels pretty sore," he said. "I've been through a great deal, but it's taken me a great deal to get here and I don't plan on missing it."

Starting rotations

Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove named the rest of his starting rotation for the first four games of the Series. Right-hander Chad Ogea will pitch Game 2, veteran Charles Nagy will go in Game 3 and rookie Jaret Wright in Game 4. He said that Wright was held back because of concern about fatigue after pitching so many innings this year.

"This is the longest season of his career," Hargrove said of the 21-year-old rookie. "We just don't know how much Jaret has left in his tank."

Leyland will go with NLCS hero Kevin Brown in Game 2, then start veteran Al Leiter and young Tony Saunders in the first two games at Jacobs Field.

Indians keep 11 pitchers

Hargrove also announced that he will stay with the 11-man pitching staff that was so successful against the Orioles. Left-hander Brian Anderson, who pitched very well in relief against the Orioles, will remain on the roster at the expense of a 15th position player.

Series no TV winner

One of NBC's top programming executives is not exactly looking forward to the World Series.

"We're looking for four and out," said Don Ohlmeyer, president of NBC West Coast, in a conference call yesterday. "Either way, that's what we want. The faster it's over with, the better it is."

The series could potentially struggle in the ratings without a major market team from New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. Cleveland is a smaller market and the Marlins are a first-time World Series participant.

If there's no four-game sweep, NBC will broadcast the fifth game Thursday night. That would wipe out the network's "must-see" entertainment schedule that night, consistently the highest-rated prime-time evening of the week.

Ohlmeyer said baseball's postseason broadcasts last year hurt the network's momentum in trying to get its fall schedule established.

"We never recovered from it, and I'm hoping it doesn't happen again," he said.

Ticket master

Leyland was asked yesterday if he was happy to be managing in the World Series against the Indians because he grew up in Ohio.

"I'd have to give it mixed reviews," he said, "because my graduating class was 125 and so far I've had 625 that graduated with me ask for tickets. It's good in a lot of ways and it's more good than bad, but it can be a little distracting if you're not careful."

The crowd is extending right into Leyland's home.

"My wife rented eight beds today that were brought to my house," he said. "To be honest, I don't know who is staying at my house. It's going to be like a dormitory."

Scouting report

Marlins Game 1 starter Livan Hernandez watched what he could the American League Championship Series, but he said through an interpreter that he wasn't going to get overconfident because the Orioles' pitching staff had so much success against the Indians.

"I did get to see parts of the games," he said. "I saw they didn't hit the Orioles very well, but you can't rest on that, because that's just false confidence."

Pub Date: 10/18/97

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