Camden Courier-Post - May 9, 1980

Optimistic Phillies collide with Reds


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


CINCINNATI – The Phillies floated here yesterday to begin an eight-game road trip tonight against the Reds on a veritable bubble of optimism.


Unlike 10 days ago, when they staggered into New York after a 2-4 home stand, there was reason to believe the club was on the verge of combining the elements of pitching, hitting and defense over a sustained period.


Indeed, over the last five games their pitchers have been pitching, their hitters have been hitting and their injured – always a cause of concern with the Phillies – were healing.


MANAGER DALLAS Green had good reports on most everyone. Centerfielder Garry Maddox had recovered sufficiently from an ankle sprain to be available for tonight's game. Second baseman Manny Trillo, out since April 19 with another ankle sprain, was taken off the disabled list. And, pitcher Nino Espinosa was progressing nicely.


There was, however, a question left unanswered: Where was Warren Brusstar? The righthander, whose shoulder problems cost him virtually the entire 1979 season and helped contribute to the club's fourth-place finish in the National League East, had not taken therapy with trainer Don Seger during the home stand that concluded with Wednesday night's rainout. Neither had he been working with pitching coach Herm Starrette. Brusstar did not accompany the club here, leading to speculation that the reliever had gone AWOL.


"I don't know where he is," said Starrette.


"I HAVEN'T seen him since we left for New York," said Seger.  


Brusstar, as it turns out, has not left the club without permission. But Green, for one, did not seem particularly pleased with the fact that Brusstar had decided to seek treatment on his own.


"He's been in St. Louis getting special treatment there," said Green. "He went on his own. There's not much I can do about it."


BRUSSTAR DISCUSSED his decision with owner Ruly Carpenter before seeking help from a chiropractor and an arm specialist in St. Louis. Exactly when Brusstar will return is unknown even to Green.


"I'm not real sure of the timing on the thing," said Green. "There's no way to put a time table on something like this."


Something like this is the persistent shoulder problems that have plagued Brusstar since spring training a year ago. After gaining a reputation as one of the more effective middle relievers with a 6-3 record and a 2.33 earned run average in 1978, Brusstar was never again the same.


HE APPARENTLY tore a muscle in the vicinity of his right rotator cuff and opened last season on the disabled list. The Phillies activated him on June 28, but his 7.07 ERA in 13 games convinced them to send him to Reading on July 25.


Brusstar seemed to be making progress during spring training this season, but he hurt his shoulder twice in Florida and was eventually sent to Oklahoma City to see a specialist. The doctor there found nothing new and Brusstar rejoined the team early in the season.


The rest of the Phillies, meanwhile, were preparing to play a Cincinnati club coming off three straight extra-inning games in New York. In all likelihood the Reds will be without slugger George Foster, who missed his ninth straight game Wednesday with a strained rib cage muscle.


PHIL UPS – Espinosa was to pitch in a simulated game yesterday, but Green postponed it till Monday because of rain... Pitching matchups for the series are: Randy Lerch against Charlie Liebrandt tonight, Steve Carlton against Tom Seaver in a classic tomorrow and Dick Ruthven vs. Mike LaCoss on Sunday… Third baseman Mike Schmidt has hit in eight straight games with four home runs and 10 RBIs.