Reading Eagle - March 28, 1980

Espinosa Isn’t Rushing


CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) – The Philadelphia Phillies are concerned but not alarmed about the continuing pain in the pitching shoulder of Nino Espinosa, their second biggest winner last year.


It’s not as if the 26-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic injured the shoulder yesterday. It happened at the end of last season, and Espinosa still has that twinge that every pitcher fears.


Manager Dallas Green has this to say about Espinosa:


“Espinosa has that shoulder problem that he had at the end of last year. We had him in Philadelphia in December… The doctor looked at him. We just are concerned that this could be a very serious problem if we let it.”


Green went on to observe that he is determined not to rush Espinosa in spring training to the point where it would permanently damage his arm. “I am satisfied with his progress… He’s on a program that we think will get him ready by opening day and that’s all I’m concerned about.”


Espinosa, meanwhile, hadn’t thrown a ball in anger halfway through spring training.


Green finally trotted him out there March 25 in a “B” game to see what Espinosa could do. It wasn’t much. He threw lollipops.


Espinosa still insisted he’d be ready by the time the season opened. He didn’t, however, convince Green or Phillies’ team physician Dr. Phillip Marone, who admitted he didn’t have a diagnosis on Espinosa’s problem.


Green said he wasn’t too excited about what he saw, and unless there is a big turnaround, he wasn’t counting on Espinosa in the starting rotation.


Espinosa, 26, acquired last spring from the New York Mets for Richie Hebner and a minor league player, posted a 14-12 record with a 3.65 ERA last season.


Espinosa said he developed the pain after former Phillies manager Danny Ozark, because of a pitching staff decimated by injuries, was forced to use him every third instead of fourth day.