Camden Courier-Post - August 25, 1980

Phillies romp in Bull’s return


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


PHILADELPHIA – A few weeks ago, Phillies leftfielder Greg Luzinski was openly pondering his future.


He had just undergone surgery on his right knee, at the same time learning that further surgery was not out of the question. And, while he was limping at home, waiting for the OK to begin rehabilitation, a guy by the name of Lonnie Smith was burning up the National League as the Phils' new leftfielder.


In marked contrast, Luzinski last night spent some time contemplating how nice it felt to return to the lineup. After missing seven weeks and 44 games, the Bull came back – in style – smashing a home run in his second at bat to help the Phils to a much-needed 7-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants.


THE GAME featured not only the return of the Bull, but the pitching of Dick Ruthven and a raucous rhubarb that brought about the ejection of Giant Manager Dave Bristol and pitching Coach Don McMahon.


"Sure," said Luzinski, "it felt good. I hadn't played since July 5th, and I hit a home run and Stennett (Rennie, the Giants' second baseman) takes a hit away from me."


Luzinski's homer came in a watershed third inning in which the Phillies scored four times off Giant lefthander Bob Knepper, who went into the game with an unlovely 2-10 record on the road (9-14 overall).


Smith, who would later figure prominently in a Giant protest of the game, began the proceedings with a double to left-center. Pete Rose followed with an RBI single, setting the stage for events that would delight a Veterans Stadium crowd of 37,325.


KNEPPER WENT 2-1 on Mike Schmidt, then gave the Phils' third baseman a breaking ball on the inside part of the plate. Schmidt rocketed the pitch over the left-field wall to give the Phils a 3-1 lead. And Luzinski, who was removed from the game after Stennett robbed him of a hit in the fifth, sent Knepper's next pitch careening off the black backdrop behind the bullpen in left.


"I thought he did well for the five innings, showed he could still hit them," said Manager Dallas Green. "I felt a little' tingle (when Luzinski homered). I'll tell you, I think he was enthused. He shook hands pretty tough. That's a good sign."


For Schmidt, the homer was No. 35, giving him the major-league lead. For Luzinski, it was No. 16, the first since June 14. It was the fifth time this season – eighth in their careers – that Schmidt and Luzinski have hit back-to-back homers.


It was in the fourth, after Ruthven knocked Knepper out with a triple, that trouble between the Giants and the umpires began brewing. Smith was on first base, having greeted reliever Randy Moffitt with an infield single that scored Ruthven, when Rose smashed a ground ball to Giant first baseman Mike Ivie.


IVIE TOUCHED FIRST for one out, then fired to shortstop Johnny LeMaster covering second. It was a tag play and the throw was late. But Smith didn't know that, so he went into second with his best take-out slide, coming to a halt with his legs on the bag, the rest of him on the dirt.


Second base umpire Eric Gregg ruled Smith safe, then immediately called time. Smith, thinking he was out, walked off the bag toward the dugout as LeMaster tagged him. The Giants, who quite naturally wanted the out, argued and finally announced they were playing the game under protest.


"Lonnie Smith told our guy (LeMaster) he thought he was forced," said an angry Bristol after the game. "I saw him (Gregg) give the safe sign, but this guy starts running off the field and we tag him out. What was he doing, running the bases out of order?"


Calm prevailed for only a few moments before home plate umpire Frank Pulli suddenly turned to the Giant dugout and began arguing with McMahon, who jumped onto the field and went jaw-to-jaw with Pulli, earning ejection No. 1. Then Bristol joined the fray and he, too, was given the thumb.


"MAC (McMahon) asked him where the pitch was," said Bristol. "Pulli turned around and called him a no-good (unprintable name). I never heard that before. I thought Don was going to choke him."


The defensive lapses that plagued the Phillies in the first two games of this series suddenly disappeared.


Second baseman Manny Trillo, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games, did make an error to permit the Giants to score their only run, but that was on a relay to third base. Trillo's throw hit runner LeMaster and caromed into the San Francisco dugout after he had opened the third with a liner into the right-center field gap.


Generally, the infield operated with the efficiency of a fussy housewife tidying up for a dinner party. No less than 22 outs were recorded on ground balls, which says as much for Ruthven's pitching as it does for his teammates' fielding.


SOME FURTHER good pitching, no doubt, will be needed against the Dodgers, who will use Jerry Reuss (15-4, league-leading 2.12 ERA), Don Sutton (8-4, 2.21) and Bob Welch (10-9) against the Phils in a three-game series that begins tonight. The Phils will counter with Nino Espinosa (3-4, 3.60), Bob Walk (9-2, 4.58) and Steve Carlton (19-7, 2.70).

Green plays game of Roster Roulette


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


PHILADELPHIA – Greg Luzinski's triumphant return last night created a sudden overabundance of outfielders on the Phillies' 25-man roster.


The Phils are now carrying six outfielders, and four of them are regulars. It doesn't take an advanced course in calculus to figure out that four outfielders are one too many.


From now until the end of the season – unless someone gets hurt – Manager Dallas Green will have to play a little Roster Roulette with Luzinski, rookie Lonnie Smith, centerfielder Garry Maddox and rightfielder Bake McBride.


Smith, who took over as the regular leftfielder when Luzinski injured his knee July 5, is merely hitting .356 and has made himself a serious candidate for rookie of the year. Obviously, the Phillies need Smith in the lineup.


McBride is having his finest season ever. Maddox is an extraordinary defensive centerfielder and Luzinski is a longball threat of some magnitude. Obviously, the Phillies could use all of them in the lineup.


But unless the National League suddenly adopts the designated hitter rule, or permits slow-pitch Softball's four-man outfield, Green only will be able to use three of the four.


"It's nice to have Greg back because of the home run potential," said first baseman Pete Rose, "but I'd hate to be the one making up the lineup the next couple days."


That unenviable task, of course, falls to Green, who will, no doubt, consult batting averages, pitching charts and Madam Mary, Indian Adviser, before choosing his outfield.


"It'll depend on who's pitching and who's hitting," Green said last night after the Phils' 6-1 win over the Giants. "Right now, Lonnie's hitting and we'll try to work him into the lineup."


That does not mean, however, that Luzinski, who underwent knee surgery a month ago, will be used primarily as a pinch hitter. The Bull, even on a knee still healing, is too potent an offensive threat to use just once a ballgame.


"Bull's going to play as much as we possibly can get him in there, as much as his knees can take it," said Green. "If I wasn't going to play him, I certainly wouldn't make this effort to get him back in. I'd just wait until September 1, then I got no problems making any moves.


"He'll be defensed (replaced for defensive purposes), probably earlier than he would normally. Hell be ruan for at critical times during a game when I think I got to have a run."


The game of Roster Roulette Green had to play to activate Luzinski prior to Sept. 1, when playoff rosters are set (Luzinski could have returned after Sept. 1, and still been eligible for any post-season play), was vastly more difficult than any future lineup decisions Green will have to make.


Indeed, Green agonized for days over what to do before finally putting left-handed reliever Kevin Saucier (who also would be eligible for post-season play upon his return) on the 21-day disabled list because of tendinitis.


"It (the decision) arrived for me, I didn't arrive at it," said Green. "Kevin really wasn't thought about too much. I told you I was definitely thinking of a pitcher. We were trying to exhaust all the possibilities legally and find out what we could do.


"There's three things I could've done: release somebody, option somebody or disable somebody. You can't disable unless somebody's hurt. And that was the problem; I didn't have anybody hurt. So I was running into a release-option situation, which is not very pleasant.


"I was just about at the stage where I was ready to pull out my hair, and I finally called in three or four guys (Saucier, Nino Espinosa, Warren Brusstar and Larry Christenson) that had arm problems in the past to talk to them individually and discuss the status of their arms. In that, we found that Kevin still had some tenderness from that tendinitis that he had about a month ago.


"At that time, we took the curve ball away from him and just made him go with the fastball and slider. We thought we had it toned down pretty good, but the five innings he pitched (in the 17-inning game against San Diego on Thursday), then backing it up with an inning last night (Saturday), he admitted that he still had some tenderness. In a way, it solved a dilemma for me."


And now another presents itself. What do you do with four outfielders? You play Roster Roulette and hope the gun doesn't backfire.