Wilmington Evening Journal - March 26, 1980

Phillies finally see ‘real’ Dickie Noles


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


CLEARWATER, FLA. – Dickie Noles is tall and he is .tough. He throws hard and Manager Dallas Green likes him. A lot. So what else does a young pitcher need to make it with the Phillies?


A little more of Dickie Noles on the mound.


Until yesterday Green had been wondering where the real Dickie Noles was. In fact, the right-hander who had pitched in two previous Grapefruit League games was in danger of not making the team.


Yesterday, however, Noles pitched four strong innings as the Phillies whipped Baltimore 6-3 and Green was smiling.


"He was a lot better today," said the manager. "We were concerned. He was cutting the ball and he wasn't Dickie Noles. The ball wasn't coming out of his hand the way I like it. We kept looking at the films, trying to figure out what he was doing wrong. I guess he had a long winter; he forgot how to do it. Today was fine. He threw like he can."


It was last July 5 that Dickie Noles swaggered into Veterans Stadium, an emergency call-up from Oklahoma City the day after three starting pitchers went down with injuries.


He was a stranger to most everyone close to the Phillies. Other minor-league prospects had been frequently talked about, but not Dickie Noles.


He had a 6-4 record at Oklahoma City at the time, but got the golden opportunity because of five straight victories and a 1.26 earned run average.


Noles answered the call, and even though he was eventually sent back to Oklahoma City because the Phils were desperate for an infielder, he compiled a 3-4 record and a 2.80 ERA.


WHEN THE PHILS were unable to obtain a reliever during the winter meetings in Toronto, Green did not seem too concerned. He said Dickie Noles would become his middle man.


"I think Dickie Noles can come in and be a hammer," said Green. "He has confidence and the stuff to get guys out in crucial situations. He has that strikeout pitch a reliever needs to survive."


"Sure," said Noles. "I don't mind switching to relief. I'll do anything to pitch in the majors. Hell, I'm a scrub. I just want to pitch on this club, so whatever I can do I'll do."


Now it appears he may not have to do that because it seems the Phillies need starters more than they need relievers. Nino Espinosa, bothered since last September with a sore shoulder, pitched in the Phils' 4-2 victory over the Mets in a "B" game yesterday morning, but did not throw hard. He said he has changed his windup and felt good, but it was obvious he is far behind schedule.


And it will be at least another week before Larry Christenson, hit in the leg by a line drive last week by Detroit's Jason Thompson, starts running.


"We're not going to rush him," said Green. "When a guy has a leg problem and tries to pitch too soon, he can develop problems with his arm."


So, Dickie Noles is in a good position to open the season as a starter.


"Dickie came a long way for me today," said Green. "As far as I'm concerned, his chances of making the team do not necessarily hinge on Nino and L.C. He pitched well for us last year and he's one of our guys. He's got a good arm."


GREEN ADMITTED THAT before yesterday Noles had not pitched well enough to fill the relief role he had in mind for him.


"He was not to the point where we were comfortable with him to put him in that situation," said Green. "First, we had to get him to where he was today. Now, after another outing like today's, I would feel more comfortable trying him in that hammer situation. Dickie needs the confidence to know his control and stuff are good enough to do the job a hammer has to do. A little self-doubt sometimes will lick you."


Noles realizes he may get some starting assignments early, but that his future this year is in the bullpen.


"In relief, you still got to get somebody out," he explained. "I just come in and pitch. I don't know. I've never relieved that much, but I'm willing to try it and give it my best.


"Relieving is different now. Everybody is a specialist. You're expected to come in, go right at them and get 'em out. That's what a pitcher is supposed to do, whether he is reliever or starting.


"Like I said, I want to be here. It doesn't matter to me what they have me doing. Not one bit." 

Rose, Eastwick impressive in Phillies’ victory


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


CLEARWATER, Fla. – Pete Rose already appears ready for the start of the National League season.


The Phillies' first baseman collected three singles in the 6-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles yesterday and lifted his batting average in Grapefruit League play to .384.


Another impressive performer was Rawly Eastwick, blanking the Orioles in his three-inning stint. Eastwick yielded three singles and struck out two. He followed Dickie Noles, the starter and winner, who pitched four encouraging innings.


One of Eastwick's best pitches is a split-finger fastball, which he started learning a year ago after his career began to go sour. Yesterday, however, he seldom used the pitch and for this reason Manager Dallas Green called his performance impressive.


"I thought he worked real good today," said Green. "He used other pitches besides the split-finger fastball. Towards the end of last year we talked about this and we talked about it again at the beginning of spring training. He's not a pitcher who is going to be a split-finger fastball guy all the time.


"He has to use other pitches. We have been working with him all spring and encouraging him. I thought he did it very well today. He's throwing better right now than I remember him throwing last year. I think that's an approach. We have talked about going after hitters. He looked a little lethargic at times last year. He seemed today like he was coming at guys."


Green says Eastwick needs a little Pete Rose in him.


"Pete goes after pitchers; it's a battle between him and the guy on the mound and everybody knows it," said the manager. "There has to be a battle between the pitchers and hitters; that's what makes the game so great. Rawly showed me today he is doing that."


After the Orioles took a 2-0 lead against Noles on Ken Singleton's home run in the first inning, Rose's play figured, prominently in the Phils' scoring during the rest of the afternoon.


The Phils had runners on first and second, one out and Greg Luzinski the batter. Luzinski doubled to left-center and the throw beat Rose to the plate, but Pete crashed into catcher Floyd Rayford, jarring the ball loose. Not only did Rose score, but Bake McBride, who was on first, also crossed the plate to tie the score.


In the second inning, Rose singled home Larry Bowa from third and in the seventh, aggressive base running caused the Orioles to throw the ball away attempting to get Pete at third. When the ball bounced away from third baseman Doug DeCinces, Rose trotted home with the sixth run.


"Pete makes things happen," said Green. "People say, 'Why is he doing that?' Then, all of a sudden the ball gets away and he scores. That's why he does it. It's only spring, but he plays the game the same all the time."


Aside from the standout pitching and Rose's antics, Green was pleased with catcher Bob Boone, who caught seven innings.


"I really didn't want him to go that far, but everything seemed to be OK with him," said Green. "He wanted to bat in the seventh inning, so I let him stay in there."


Boone is recovering from ligament surgery last September and still has some problems squatting. He proved yesterday the Phils have little to worry about in that department.


EXTRA POINTS – The Phils won the morning "B" game over the Mets 4-2... Nino Espinosa, bothered with a sore shoulder, pitched two innings... He allowed a run and gave up two hits... Although Green was not too pleased with Nino's performance (he did not throw hard), the pitcher said his shoulder felt good... He also revealed he has changed his motion somewhat, making his windup more fluid.

Owners stand pat as talks open


Associated Press


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Negotiations on a basic agreement between major league baseball owners and players were to reopen here today, with owners guardedly optimistic and players' representatives flatly pessimistic about avoiding a strike at the start of the season.


Major league executives met yesterday with their chief negotiator, Ray Grebey, who said no modifications were made in the owners' latest offer.


"No votes were taken or policy-decisions made today," Grebey said following a 90-minute meeting with the owners' negotiating committee. The committee is composed of Grebey, the presidents of the American and National Leagues, and six team executives: Daniel Galbreath of Pittsburgh, Bob Howsam of Cincinnati, John McHale of Montreal, Joseph Burke of Kansas City, Ed Fitzgerald of Milwaukee and Clark Griffith II of Minnesota.


The executive director of the Players' Association, Marvin Miller, was dismayed by the news that the owners made no policy moves yesterday.


"Since the Players Association finds that the owners' demands are unacceptable and the owners apparently are unwilling to change their position," Miller said he could see no reason for any of the optimism expressed by the owners.


"As long as we have bargaining sessions left, there's hope of avoiding a strike," Grebey said.


Negotiating talks were planned daily through Friday, and Miller is also scheduled to meet with players from seven more teams this week to discuss the negotiations and the possibility of a strike.


Players from 19 teams have already authorized a strike on or after April 1 if a new four-year basic agreement is not hammered out by then.


"We see no reason for the strike talk," Grebey said. "Major league baseball's objective is the same as it has been – to attempt a negotiated settlement."


The success of the talks apparently binges on several key issues left unresolved at the last session on March 18, including particularly an owners' proposal to have a player, rather than an amateur draft choice, as compensation in certain cases when a team loses a player to free agency.


Players argue that such a rule would kill the free-agent system, since few teams would be willing to part with a player from their roster in order to sign a free agent.


Other important issues yet to be settled include an owners' proposal to restrict to one-year contracts any player with four years service or less, and another that would force an arbitrator to give extra weight to a player's time in service, rather than performance, when ruling on a salary dispute.


Miller planned to meet in Phoenix with members of the Giants and Indians before today's negotiations.