Corpus Christi Caller - July 17, 1980

J.R. will take 21-day leave


By The Associated Press


HOUSTON – The Houston Astros may be excused for losing to the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-2, Wednesday night since their mind may have been on a bigger loss — that of 6-8 ace right-hander JR Richard.


Richard was placed on the team's 21-day disabled list when he complained of muscle fatigue after warming up 22 minutes in the Astros’ bullpen.


The Astros had decided previously that Richard would test his arm Wednesday night, and based on the result start Saturday or go on the disabled list.


Richard, who has left 10 of his 17 starts this season with some sort of ailment, will be replaced in the starting rotation Saturday night by Gordy Pladson.


Richard left in the fourth inning of his last start Monday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, complaining of an upset stomach.


After warming up before the Astros' game with the Phillies Wednesday night, he told Manager Bill Virdon and pitching Coach Mel Wright that his arm felt tired.


Richard 10-4 has a 1.89 earned run average and has struck out 119 batters in 113 innings.


The Astros, puzzled by Richard's condition, were mesmerized by right-hander Bob Walk of the Phillies, who earned his sixth victory without a loss with a three-hitter, while his teammates capitalized on two Houston errors en route to the victory.


Walk allowed only a pair of infield hits to Jose Cruz and a two-run home run by Art Howe in the fourth.


Pete Rose doubled in the first inning off Houston starter Ken Forsch, 8-9, and scored on Bake McBride's single McBride reached third on a single by Keith Moreland and scored on a grounder by Garry Maddox.


Manny Trillo singled to lead off the Philadelphia fourth, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Alan Ashby. Trillo scored on Lonnie Smith s single.


Trillo singled again to open the sixth and went from first to third on an error by shortstop Craig Reynolds, who threw the ball into the dirt at second base. Trillo scored his second run on John Vukovich's sacrifice fly.


Walk opened the fourth inning by walking Cesar Cedeno, who stole second base prior to Howe's fourth home run of the season.