Philadelphia Daily News - March 17, 1980
Phils Produce Grand Victory Over Toronto
By Bill Conlin
CLEARWATER – If Dallas Green was a movie director there were several scenes yesterday he would have ordered cut, printed and put in the can.
OK, in fairness, these memorable scenes were shot against the backdrop of a low-budget prop called the Toronto Blue Jays. But to a manager who is trying to recreate the glory that was 1976 and the grandeur that was ‘77, this was Academy Award stuff.
Greg Luzinski, slim, trim and bookish in spectacles and apparently possessed once more of the quick, short stroke which made him one oi tne game's most feared sluggers, put on a one-man show. He drove in four runs with a pair of awesome two-run homers, the first one headed toward " the Blue Jays camp in nearby Dune-din before being halted by the upper part of the light standard in left.
I’M JUST concentrating on being as smooth as I can," The Bull said after Green got shutout pitching from Larry Christenson, Carlos Arroyo, Dan Larson, Jose Martinez and short-relief hope Lenin LaGrow. who retired the last six Blue Jay hitters, such as they were. "Billy De-Mars and I have spent hours on the videotape looking at slow-motion of a swing of mine off the batting tee he considers letter perfect. The big thing I'm working on right now is form, staying back with my hands, not lunging. The glasses are working good, too. I have a pair of contacts made from the same prescription and the glasses feel a little better. The glasses make me stay squared up. I have to look through the contacts at a slightly different angle. The first homer was off a fastball, the second off a breaking ball."
DeMars watched his student proudly from the bullpen area in right field. He particularly liked Luzinski's -$?tions on the second homer.
"He was a little fooled, had to kind of double-clutch. But his hands stayed back and the swing was letter perfect. Last year he would have been lunging and probably would have popped a pitch like that up. What I saw today twice was the Greg Luzinski swing of two years ago. Everybody always would say his swing was compact, short and-quick with great hand action. He's in absolutely tip-top shape, the best I've seen him.
"I'm also pleased with Bake McBride. He looks like a different hitter this spring. He was another.gay who stopped waiting on the ball last year."
IF YOU'RE going to resurrect lost batting form, the Blue Jays are as good – or bad – a team as any to do it against. It is a team easily as bad as the '62 Mets, a team which will count 100 losses as a moral victory. The Pirates, Expos and Cardinals will provide a slightly better test.
It was Christenson's first outing of the spring and Director Green would like to preserve it on celluloid. The bearded righthander went three strong innings, allowing two hits, one walk and striking out two.
Whereas Luzinski looks to be in the pink of health, Larry is still battling some physical problems not connected with successful surgery last fall to remove a bone spur from his mended collarbone. Muscle pulls bother him incessantly – he re-injured a slight left leg pull backing up third base yesterday. And he's one pitcher who definitely does not fit in Dallas Green's running program.
"Running is counter-productive for Larry," trainer Don Seger said while the righthander pumped away at the stationary bicycle. "He's prone to leg pulls, possibly because of his congenital back condition. We've got to ease him out of a lot of the running, get him on a cardio-vascular program and the stationary bicycle to keep him fit."
Christenson's only goal yesterday was to re-adjust to the difference between throwing on the sideline and in live combat."
“ITS A LITTLE different out there the first time," Christenson said. "I was squeezing a few fast balls. I was trying to go as easy as I could and not overthrow the ball. I've been having some problems with my legs and back. I've always had a history of muscle pulls and I pulled a hamstring last week and pulled it slightly out there today. I never run full speed anymore. I just cant afford to blow something out every time I turn it on. It gets to the point where you just don't know when you're gonna pull the next one. The thing is, I've got to do some sprint running, so I can field bunts, back up bases and run them."
Seger said Larry's arm is the least, of his worries. The main concern is keeping him ambulatory. "He's capable of having a very good year," Seger said. "His strength is excellent in all areas. We've got to keep his back healthy. That tends to affect his legs. It seems he gets most of his pulls when the back is bothering him."
Never let small details stand in the way of a good movie plot. Greg Luzinski put two balls into orbit and Larry Christenson pitched three scoreless innings.
Cut... Print... Put it in the can.
PHILUPS: Pete Rose cracked his first two hits of the spring, a pair of singles in the Phillies 2-0 victory over the Blue Jays... Paul Owens says the Billy Smith deal with Baltimore isnt dead yet. "They've got waivers on him until May 2," Owens said. "We didn’t do it because we feel they're too high." Baltimore wants two minor league pitchers and outfielder Orlando Isales for the utility man... Dick Ruthven will start for the Phils today against the Red Sox in Winter Haven.