Allentown Morning Call - March 28, 1980

Maddox says door to negotiations with Phils is ‘open again’


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


CLEARWATER, Fla – Garry Maddox says the door to negotiations with the Phillies is open again. Ruly Carpenter says, yes, that's true, but emphasizes that it's open only a crack. 


"We had reached an impasse in our negotiations as of March 2, and very little happened after that," said Mad-dox who homered yesterday afternoon during the Philadelphia Phillies' 12-5 rout of the Chicago White Sox at Jack Russell Stadium. "But they've opened up again and my agent (Jerry Kapstein) has been talking to both Paul (Owens) and Ruly over the last few days." 


Carpenter, the Phillies' owner, was a little less optimistic. 


"Yes, we've done some talking but there's been nothing major either way." 


Carpenter was asked if he expected any change in the negotiations before the opening of the season. 


"Well, it's 3:55 right now," said Carpenter, glancing at his watch. "All I can tell you is that there's nothing new as of 3:55." 


Obviously, Maddox's contract demands is not a favorite Grapefruit League subject of the Phillies' brass. For a long time the Gold Glove center-fielder was considered one of the happiest horses in the stable, and it came as somewhat of a shock when he let it be known he wanted considerably more to stay in Philadelphia when his contract runs out at the end of 1980. 


Maddox is reportedly seeking close to $1 million per year to continue running down flyballs and turning triples into singles on the spacious Veterans Stadium Astroturf. Neither side will comment but it is apparent that they are far, far away on agreeing: and it is a fact that the Phillies say they will not pay any player more than they pay Pete Rose who is signed through 1982 at about $800,000 per year. 


"As far as I know, the Phillies have not said I've been unreasonable." said the soft-spoken Maddox. "Look, to this point, the Phillies have been fair with me. I'd like to work things out here, I really would. It's a good organization. I think we can work things out."  Maddox. who has the reputation of being sensitive and moody, was asked how much the contract hassle is going to weigh on his mind during the season. 


"Well, it's a big time in my career." answered Maddox. "I'm doing this for security, for my family. It's significant for me personally. So, to say I can put it out of my mind is just unrealistic. Now. to say if it will affect my playing. I can only hope that it doesn't." 


There have been trade rumors swirling around Maddox since his and the Phillies' differences became public knowledge. The names of Dave Winfield, Bruce Sutter and Ken Griffey have all been mentioned but, in truth, trading a player on the last year of his contract is not easy these days. 


Besides, the Phillies are not all that eager to get rid of Maddox, even with Lonnie Smith enjoying a fine spring. Quite simply, there is no one who can play centerfield like Maddox. 


On Tuesday against Baltimore at Jack Russell, for example, Eddie Murray sent a sinking liner toward center. Maddox swooped in with that long, loping stride and caught the ball at his shoelaces. The only decision for most centerfielders is whether to try and and catch the ball in an all-out dive or play it for a one-hop single. Owens, the Phils' general manager, watched the play and let out a low whistle. 


"I'd say he knows how to play the position," said The Pope with a smile: And he's on the other side of the table. 


Anyway, the principal subject for digestion during yesterday's game was hitting. The Phillies scored nine runs in the fourth inning to save Steve Carlton from taking the loss on a poor afternoon. 


Mike Schmidt hit his fifth home run of the spring during the inning, a three-run shot to left, and Maddox homer was a two-run blast, also to left-center. Pete Rose had two hits during the inning, one of them a two-run single up the middle, and Larry Bowa also knocked in two runs with a single to right. Chisox pitcher Richard Wortham had retired the first nine batters in order before the roof, make that the sky, fell in on him. 


Carlton was also ineffective but the Orioles got only three runs on their 10 hits in the first six innings.


Rawly Eastwick followed Carlton for an inning, giving up a two-run homer to giant first baseman Lamar Johnson. Even Lerrin LaGrow, perhaps the Phillies' most effective pitcher this spring, wasn't real sharp although he gave up no runs and only two hits in his two innings. 


Dallas Green, a former pitcher, had an explanation. 


"It my theory that there's always a downslide for pitchers sometime during spring training." said Green. "It looked for a while that we really weren't going to have one here, but maybe we're in it now. It's perfectly natural. The idea is to have it now so everything is worked out by the time we go north." 


NOTES – Warren Brusstar was in uniform yesterday but was not throwing. He was previously a "no-comment" subject, but Green did answer a question about his ailing relief pitcher. 


"We are not real happy with the progress he has made, said Green of Brusstar's continuing shoulder injury. "He's reached the point where it's very tough for him as a person to handle what he's going through. I think (trainer and assistant trainer) Don (Seger) and Jeff (Cooper) have done all they can for him. We're just going to have to see what Dr. Phillip (Marone) says. But I'm not optimistic." 


Brusstar's problems could pave the way for a position on the roster for rookie Scott Munninghoff, who had another strong outing in a game against Toronto. He scattered six hits and gave up only one unearned run in five innings… 


Maddox batted second yesterday in Green's continuing Search for the Pushalong Guy, but the manager said he probably won't be there during the season. (For the record. Maddox hopes he won't, either.) The candidates right now, according to Green, are Manny Trillo. Bake McBride and, yes, Bowa, who feels Green moved him out of the spot before he was given a fair trial.