Philadelphia Daily News - April 5, 1980

Owens Can’t Find Takers


By Bill Conlin


CLEARWATER – Rawly Eastwick has a guaranteed contract through 1982 worth $450,000. Doug Bird has a half-guaranteed contract through 1981 worth $100,000.


Dallas Green cut the Phillies sonad to the opening day limit nf 2S yesterday, giving infielder Bud Harrelson his unconditional release and informing Eastwick, Bird and reserve outfielder Mike Anderson that General Manager Paul Owens is trying to place them somewhere in the major leagues.


With players like Pedro Borbon, Billy Smith and Roger Freed cut loose Thursday and most clubs trying to subtract rather than add, Owens will not have an easy time getting a $550,000 monkey off Ruly Carpenter's back.


"I've heard back from the Angels and they're not interested in either pitcher," Owens said last night. "I've talked with Bobby Mattick over in the Blue Jays' camp in Dunedin and they expressed some interest in Eastwick, Bird and Anderson. I'm supposed to talk to them in the morning."


ALL OWENS IS trying to do with Eastwick and Bird is cut his losses, hoping that somebody desperate for bullpen help will pick up a significant hunk of their guaranteed salaries.


"It could prove to be an expensive cutdown," The Pope acknowledged.


A flock of writers was interviewing George Vukovich. a non-roster outfielder who is one of five rookies going north with the Phillies, when Green came out of his office with Harrelson at his side.


"I just want to announce to you guys that the Phillies have given Buddy his unconditional release," Green said. "He's been a professional baseball player a long time. He's a quality guy who's had a fine career and this is the toughest thing a manager can possibly do, but we're committed to go with younger players on our bench. Buddy is a real pro and you always hate to release a guy who's contributed as much as he has to the game."


GREEN SAID FAILURE to make a trade for bench strength and his desire to work some of the organization's farm hands into the varsity was the decisive factor in the Good Friday Massacre.


"We wanted to do something with our bench and bullpen through the trade route and weren't able to do it." Green said. "My philosophy all along has been that the best 25 men deserve a chance to play. We haven't been able to place Eastwick, Bird and Anderson as of yet but they've been told they will not be members of the 1980 Phillies.


"The kids we're taking north are not going for a 30-day look. As far as I'm concerned, they're here for the season. I felt Rawly hurt himself his last two outings. Both times we used him in the kind of situation he would have been in during the season. One time he threw a home run and the other he gave up the runs that put a close game out of reach.


"I told Paul at the start of last season that in my heart I felt Rawly could do the things again that made him one of the best relievers in the game. I told him the same thing before this spring. Dallas Green was wrong again. He didnt make the progress I hoped he would make."


GREEN BLEW SOME smoke in Bird's direction during the exhibitions. but the former Kansas City short man was out of the picture from the first day rookie righthander Scott Munninghoff unfurled his nasty sinker.


"I never had a chance from the first day of camp." Bird said before returning to his home in Fort Myers. "His mind was made up on me."


The truth of the matter is that Green's mind was made up last September. That's why Owens sent his farm director down there in the first place.


Yesterday, the manager marked his tinal report “official.”


PHILUPS: Phils will work out in the Vet at 7 o'clock Thursday night. The public is invited free of charge and should enter the stadium through gates A and C... Channel 17 will replace tomorrow's strike cancelled telecast between the Phils and Pirates with a game between Oklahoma City and the Minor League Camp All-Stars... Minor League personnel director Howie Bedell will assist as a color commentator and fill viewers in on the stars of the future. Or maybe the stars of May 23... Orioles wanted about half the Phils minor league system for utility infielder Billy Smith. Now that Paul Owens can have him for a phone call he says he's really not all that interested. "Dallas has picked the club he wants," The Pope said. "I think that was pretty clear today. Technically, Rawly Eastwick, Doug Bird and Mike Anderson are still Phillies property. But we told them where they stand as a courtesy to them with hopes of getting them a big league job someplace. They're also free to work out a deal on their own."