Reading Eagle - May 29, 1980

Christenson Has Surgery


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Pitcher Larry Christenson of the Philadelphia Phillies underwent surgery Wednesday for removal of bone spurs and chips from his pitching elbow.


Team physician Dr. Phillip Marone pronounced the surgery successful and said Christenson would remain in the hospital for another day or two.


The operation was one of a series undergone by the righthander in the last two years.  Last season he broke a collarbone in a fall from a bicycle and later had a spur removed from his shoulder.


As a result, he missed most of the 1979 season, posting a 5-10 record with a 4.50 ERA.


Christenson has been placed on the 60-day disabled list and if he pitches at all this year, it will be in the last six weeks of the season.


He had won three games without a loss to start the season, before the elbow problem developed.  He is the second Phillies’ starter sidelined this season.  Nino Espinosa has been out since the opening day of the spring training with an ailing shoulder.

Lerch Helps Phils Into 1st


First Win for Randy


By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – Calling on Randy Lerch to pitch this spring has been about as safe as camping in Washington State or waving a “Viva Castro” banner in Key West.


But Wednesday night Randy Lerch won his first game since Iran was our friend by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 and lifting the Phillies back into first in N.L. East by four points.


Lerch had started eight games for the Phillies.  They had lost all eight, six of them tagged to Lerch’s record.  They even lost the one game in which he appeared as a pinch-hitter, meaning they were 21-7 without him and 0-9 with him.  It’s been the kind of spring John Connally could appreciate.


The lean left-hander not only beat the World Champions, but he went into the ninth with only one run against him, Lee Lacy’s second-inning homer.


Then he gave up a double to Bill Madlock and another homer to Lacy, and Ron Reed had to come on for the final three outs.  But this was merely a minor flaw in the production.


So what made the difference in what Manager Dallas Green agreed was “not your typical Randy Lerch game?”


Let us count the reasons:


Fustration Building


Green was ready to credit the fact that he had Randy miss his last turn.  “His frustration was building with each game,” reasoned Dallas.  “He’d lost his concentration, and with it the ability to throw the ball.  We wanted him to think about it.


Randy wasn’t so sure about that.  “I didn’t learn anything in the bullpen.  It was even tougher getting skipped because Larry had gotten hurt.  But it worked, so I guess maybe Dallas was right.”


Green also talked about not being happy with Randy’s approach to pitching.  “I thought he had a lack of enthusiasm for pitching – a lack of what I call demeanor on the mound.  It’s being aggressive vs. being reticent.  The other team can pounce on that.  Tonight he had a professional demeanor and approach.:


Randy was even less sure about that.  “I don’t like it when he talks about emotion.  I’ve got to be myself out there.  Aggressive?  Yeah, I’ll go along with that word.”


Then there was the two-pronged benefit in the first inning.  Lerch set down the Pirates 1-2-3, on two strikeouts and a routine grounder.  The Phillies also went 1-2-3 against Don Robinson:  Pete Rose double, Bake McBride RBI single, Mike Schmidt two-run homer.


There have been very few firsts like that for Lerch in his career.  “The top of the first certainly helped,” said Green.  “And the 3-0 lead allowed him to relax that much more.”


“Things just kept building for me,” agreed Lerch.


There was also his defense.  “Tonight when I made a mistake, they hit it at somebody,” said Randy.  “Manny (Trillo) saved me twice (in the third an fourth.”  Garry Maddox also made a fine catch with a man on in the seventh.


Green also thought Lerch used the inside half of the plate more effectively than usual, but Randy was in disagreement there, too.


Lerch did cite attitude at two key stages.  One was at the very start.  “I’ve been overthrowing some times, trying to make the perfect pitch,” he said.  “What I did tonight was try to be loose, and to think that I’m not gonna get hit, instead of worrying that I will.”  (See aggressive, above.)


The other was in the eighth, when pinch-hitter Manny Sanguillen singled and Omar Moreno doubled on the first two pitches, and Tim Foli went 2-0.  A walk would bring up Dave Parker as the tying run with nobody out.


“I stepped back and settled down,” said Randy.  “I was trying to strike Foli out with the first two pitches, and he hardly ever strikes out.”  On the third pitch, Foli grounded out.  Randy also got Parker on a grounder to him and Bill Robinson on a strikeout, forcing the runners to die on base.


“I had the feel that that was a key situation for him,” said Green.  “It was a good time to give him a shot to see what he could do.  Besides, we didn’t have our bullpen ready yet,” he added.


Moreland Catches


Another factor?  Green decided to rest Bob Boone and let Keith Moreland handle Randy.  “The last game I won was against Pittsburgh (2-1 last September 20),” Lerch recalled, “and Keith caught that one.”


Do we have another designated-catcher brewing?  “No, I’m not gonna get into that,” said Dallas.  “If I feel like catching Keith the next time, I will.  If I don’t, I won’t.”


“With Bob Boone around, I’m not gonna catch every fourth day,” said Moreland.  “He’s the best there is.”


“This was a big game for me,” Lerch summed up.  “I felt forgotten a little bit.  Hopefully my status has changed.  It’s so big, I haven’t felt the effect yet.”


So what if Randy disagrees with Dallas?  He disagreed with him in the eighth when Dallas ordered a suicide squeeze with Larry Bowa on third, Trillo on first and one out.  He disagreed long enough he practically told the Pirates it was coming, even if he didn’t give the answering sign.  But he got the bunt down and got the sixth run in.


PHIL-PHILLERS – Rose and McBride hit consecutive RBI doubles in the fourth (after Trillo had singled) to make it 5-1…  Phil Garner’s error on Trillo set up the final run… Rose’s two-runs lifted him to 12th on the all-time list at 1,774 and his two doubles to sixth at 625.  He also had a single, a steal, and two fine stops of ninth-inning grounders…  The Phils totaled nine hits in the first four innings off Robinson, only one thereafter…  Moreland had two wasted singles…  Schmidt, who hit the facing above the mezzanine in left for No. 19, has 24 RBIs and 10 homers for May; last May he hit 11…  Lerch gave 10 hits, but walked nobody.  He did pitch two good games in losses to the Mets and Cards this spring; his ERA is now 4.89…  Some things about Green Lerch likes:  “If Ozark were managing, I’d have half as many innings in now,” he said.

Rose Suit Settled


CINCINNATI (AP) – The paternity suit filed against former Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose by Terryl Rubio was settled out of court in Tampa, Fla., two weeks ago, Ms. Rubio’s attorney said Wednesday.


The 26-year-old divorcee charged in the suit that Rose fathered her daughter, Morgan Erin Rubio, who is now 2 years old, while he was a member of the Reds and residing in the Tampa area.  Rose now plays for Philadelphia.


She filed the suit in February 1979 in Cincinnati after she claimed Rose stopped child support payments.  The suit later was transferred to a Tampa court.  She had insisted her daughter was born in Cincinnati in March 1978.


Rubio asked for child support and hospital expenses in the original paternity suit.


Her attorney, Gerald Herms, said the case was settled out of court.  He refused to discuss details of the settlement.