Doylestown Daily Intelligencer - March 20, 1980

Phils bomb Expos; Boone plays; Sutter deal coming?


By Paul Giordano, Intelligencer Reporter


CLEARWATER, FLA. - The Phillies thumped the Montreal Expos, 11-1, Wednesday. But like most spring training games it was incidental.


Sure Randy Lerch pitched four strong innings and Mike Schmidt hit a home run and an RBI double. And Pete Rose had two hits, including an RBI double.


But the prime interest to come out of Wednesday's game was the presence of Bob Boone behind the plate. It was Boone's first time in catching gear since he went down last Sept. 12 with a knee injury, and four days later underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his left knee.


Wednesday, Boone caught three innings and chipped in with a two-run double.


"It was a little uncomfortable," Boone said, "and it will be that way all season. It is what it is and there's nothing I can do about it. I'll continue to work on it (rehabilitation exercises) and it may be stronger as the season goes on.


"I know how long it will take from the cartilege operation I had on my right knee (1977). It took a year before it was as strong as my left."


Boone injured his knee last season in a head-on collision with the Mets' Joel Youngblood when he was blocking the plate.


"No," Boone said, "I won’t be afraid to block the plate. There are no questions about that."


For most athletes of lesser determination, Boone's injury could have been even more serious, even to the point of ending his career.


But Bob Boone is a stickler on physical fitness. He's a constant worker, spending almost every day of the entire year preparing himself for his spring, summer and fall craft.


His determination has caught on. Every year during the off season, more and more teammates show up at Veterans Stadium for winter workouts. Boone is there every day and others work out no less than three times a week.


"We want to win," Boone said. "We've won and we've lost and I know both feelings. It's no fun to lose."


It is, too, without question that the Phillies cannot win without Boone behind the plate. He is the National League's number one catcher. He's a double contributor to the team's success, offensively and defensively. He hit .286 last season with 58 RBI and won his second straight Gold Glove.


"Everyone has to contribute," the 32-year-old catcher said. "If everyone does his job, we will win. "That's why I want to play... and win.


"And I know everyone has the same determination. You can tell by how hard the guys worked this winter. Like Greg Luzinski getting over that stumbling block and losing that weight. When you see guys work so hard, make the sacrifices, you know they're the guys you want in there in the late innings when the game is tied. You know they're the guys who are going to win it for you.


"Conditioning is so important. It really takes hold when you have to play those hot Sunday afternoon games after a Saturday night game. That's when the mental letdown can happen. That's where the conditioning comes in."


Before and after Wednesday's game with the Expos, another trade rumor took root. This one involved the Cubs' relief ace Bruce Sutter and Garry Maddox. Two days ago a story came out of the Cardinals' camp that a deal involving the Cards and Cubs was on the block, involving Sutter.


Supposedly, the Cards were going to swap pitcher Mark Littel and catcher Terry Kennedy, who happens to be Cubs' vice-president Bob Kennedy's son, to the Cubs for Sutter. Then the Cubs were going to send a catcher and a pitcher to the Red Sox for Dwight Evans.


Apparently, the Cubs are upset over Sutter's win in salary arbitration, which netted Sutter $700,000 for 1980. Sutter is also pressing the Cubs for a long term contract.


Sutter would be what the Cards needed to make them a genuine contender. The Cards denied the rumor, which moves it over to the Phillies and Maddox.


The Phils would be interested in Sutter, and would not hesitate to swap Maddox. If the Phils do not sign Maddox this season, which it appears they will not, he will become a free agent at the end of the season and they will get nothing in return.


If they trade for Sutter, they will have him for at least three seasons, even if they can't sign him after this season when his current contract runs out.


Sutter, who has three years in the majors, cannot go the free agent route because he does not have the necessary six years in. He could go for arbitration, but the Phils would not lose him.