Pennant fever again strikes ill Brown Game 4 start likely

Padre was sick as Marlins chased title

Yanks weigh using DH Davis in left

Notebook

October 19, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Last October, it was a viral infection that struck then-Florida Marlins pitcher Kevin Brown during the National League Championship Series. Now the ace of the San Diego Padres' staff, Brown again is fighting a bug at the most inopportune time.

Padres manager Bruce Bochy said Brown was running another fever yesterday, just as he did before starting Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday. Bochy wasn't aware of Brown's illness until around the sixth inning, but said, "I knew something was up because just looking at Kevin, he didn't look well."

Brown didn't pitch all that well, either, though he left in the seventh with a 5-2 lead. He was charged with four runs and threw 106 pitches in San Diego's 9-6 loss to the New York Yankees.

"I think he's going to be fine," Bochy said. "Hopefully he will get over this in the next day or so with antibiotics."

Brown, who also had a knot on his left shin after being hit in the second inning, could pitch Game 4 on short rest. "We will keep an eye on him and see how he makes progress here the next couple of days, but no question he is a strong possibility," Bochy said.

Vaughn rests leg as DH

Bochy used Greg Vaughn as his designated hitter last night and started John Vander Wal in left field against Yankees right-hander Orlando Hernandez. Vaughn still is bothered by a sore left thigh, though it didn't affect his swing in Game 1, when he produced the 40th multi-homer game in World Series history by connecting twice off David Wells.

Vaughn said the cool weather in Game 1 caused his leg to tighten. "I still feel it," he said, "but I have all winter to rest it."

Bochy was hopeful that using Vaughn as his DH would rest the leg and make him more likely to play left field when the series shifts to San Diego tomorrow.

Sterling, indeed

He was a nine-game winner and occasional starter during the regular season, not the type of pitcher who's supposed to be remembered in the playoffs. But Padres left-hander Sterling Hitchcock is leaving October prints all over the place.

Hitchcock, 27, is 3-0 in the postseason going into his Game 3 start tomorrow. In 16 innings, he's allowed just two runs and eight hits, and opponents are batting .151 against him. He was named MVP of the NLCS after defeating Atlanta twice, including in the decisive sixth game.

If that's not enough to brighten Hitchcock's days, he'll be facing the team that brought him into the majors before trading him to Seattle for Tino Martinez.

"I think where Sterling really turned it around was out of spring training," Bochy said. "He did not make our rotation and we put him in the bullpen. Just seems like it woke him up a little bit, maybe, but more than that it just got him more aggressive.

"All season he did a good job for us and pitched some of our finest games, and he has carried that into the postseason. He has shown tremendous mental toughness out there going against the kind of clubs that he has pitched against."

Left field for Davis?

Yankees rookie Ricky Ledee started in left field again last night after reaching base three times and driving in two runs in Game 1. But with left-hander Hitchcock starting Game 3 in San Diego tomorrow, the left-handed-hitting Ledee will go back to the bench.

Among the candidates to replace him is switch-hitting Chili Davis, normally the Yankees' DH. New York manager Joe Torre had said Davis was more likely to fill in for Tino Martinez at first base, but Davis has been working in the outfield with first base coach Jose Cardenal.

"It's not out of the realm of possibility that he's liable to play left field," Torre said. "He could play first if I had to make a double-switch, but I anticipate Tino playing all the games."

Ledee said he still can't believe he's here. He broke into the majors this season only because of an injury to center fielder Bernie Williams, and was left off the postseason roster for the Division Series. He was added because of Darryl Strawberry's colon cancer surgery.

Ledee watched Game 1 of the Division Series from the club's minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla. "I didn't think I was going to be back. I mean, no way was I going to be back," he said.

"I really wish that Straw was here, but at the same time I wish that I was here, too. So it is kind of mixed emotions."

Miceli's status in question

Bochy's decision not to use reliever Dan Miceli in Game 1 after removing Brown in the seventh inning raised speculation that the right-hander wasn't healthy.

Bochy admitted that Miceli had a tired arm toward the end of the NLCS against Atlanta, but said he's "doing pretty good right now. He's fine to go."

Going into last night, Miceli hadn't pitched since Game 4 of the NLCS, when he allowed a grand slam to Andres Galarraga. He had appeared in six postseason games, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four innings. Opponents were hitting .375 against him.

Easier Series for Torre

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