Wilmington Evening Journal - February 1, 1980

LaGrow joins Phils’ bullpen


PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies signed free agent Lerrin LaGrow yesterday in a move that could go a long way toward strengthening the bullpen.


LaGrow, 31, pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers last season while playing out his option. Only the Boston Red Sox selected the right-hander in the re-entry draft, so LeGrow was free to sign with any club.


"He's a pretty good pitcher," said Paul Owens, the club's player personnel director. "He had a couple of little physical problems last summer, but he came back with a very good September. I know two other clubs in our league were after him so I'm tickled we were able to sign him to a major league contract."


The Chisox dealt LaGrow to the Dodgers in early May, sending him over with an 0-3 won-loss record for 11 appearances. LaGrow came up with a bone spur in left heel – post-season surgery has corrected it – and then developed a sore arm. As a result, the veteran spent much of August on the disabled list.


LaGrow came back with an almost-perfect September. In nine appearances, he won three games, saved two and allowed one earned run. Overall, in 31 games for the Dodgers, LaGrow finished with a 3.41 ERA, a 5-1 record and four saves.


"He was very impressive in late-inning pressure situations in September," said Manager Dallas Green. "We're gambling that he's back in the form he displayed with the White Sox. He could fit very nicely in the pen and help Ron Reed and Tug McGraw."


Indeed he could, if last September was an indication. In fact, for two years with the Sox, LaGrow was one of the better relief pitchers in the American League. In 1977, he saved 25 and won seven. In '78 he won six and saved 16.