Morgan reluctant to use Clemens to start Game 4


BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox manager Joe Morgan isn't completely ruling it out, but he seems reluctant to bring pitching ace Roger Clemens back to start Game 4 at the Oakland Coliseum.

When Morgan was pressed on the subject yesterday, he pointed out the obvious. No matter how dire the situation is at that point, Clemens can't win the playoffs by himself.

"What if we're down 3-0?" Morgan asked rhetorically. "We might as well give him another day. You've still got to win four games in a row. I know you've got to get it started somewhere, but I'm not going to pitch the guy unless he's 100 percent."

The main advantage to bringing Clemens back on three days' rest is that he might be available if a seventh game were necessary, but it seems unlikely the club would risk his sore shoulder twice on three days rest.

* The A's have no such problem with right-hander Dave Stewart, who has been the workhorse of the postseason the past two years. If given the choice, he might go on three days rest all season.

"He begs every time there is an opportunity to go on three days' rest," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "He has a better feeling for his pitches, better command, and just as good velocity."

Oakland starters have pitched on three days' rest 18 times this year, more than any other major-league staff. Stewart and Welch were a combined 4-1 on three days this year.

"That's a tribute to our staff," Duncan said. "We don't have any reservations about pitching guys on three days' rest. We're comfortable with it."

* Clemens apparently came through his six-inning performance without any problem, though the condition of his sore shoulder remains a matter of long-range concern.

There has been little in the way of first-hand information on Clemens' condition because he has become a chronic no-show at playoff interview sessions.

Clemens declined to appear at the AL Championship Series news conference on Friday, saying through intermediaries that he would be happy to talk to reporters after Game 1. Then he stiffed the post-game media conference on Saturday night, apparently on general principles.

* Oakland shortstop Walt Weiss suffered a twisted left knee in an eighth-inning collision at second base and had to leave the game. He could be ready for Game 3.

Outfielder Jose Canseco wrenched his right hand in batting practice, but started the game and reached base three times in five trips.

"He was trying to hit a ball to Boston College," manager Tony La Russa said. "He played. It's soreness I think he can deal with."

* The A's have been criticized the past couple of years for spending too freely to build their dynasty, but general manager Sandy Alderson isn't taking it too seriously.

"There's nothing intrinsically bad about having the highest payroll," Alderson said. "What is it that is intrinsically wrong with having a high payroll. Our payroll was sixth or seventh this year, so we didn't set the standard. We may set the standard next year.

"There is something wrong with having a high payroll that can't be sustained by revenues or is being paid to players who aren't performing. I see nothing wrong with a payroll that rewards players for great performance. That's the American way, the way I see it."

* Kyle Stanley, son of former Red Sox reliever Bob Stanley, threw out the first ball last night and got a tremendous ovation from the Fenway crowd.

* Saturday night fallout: Rickey Henderson had two singles in the ninth inning of Game 1 to become only the second player in AL playoff history to have more than one hit in an inning. The other was New York Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles, who did it against Oakland on Oct. 14, 1981. It has been done three times in the National League.

* Oakland reliever Dennis Eckersley said yesterday that the A's are far from being overconfident about their chances of defeating the Red Sox.

"I know I'm not overconfident," he said. "You have to have that fear of blowing a ballgame, especially a game in the playoffs."

* Oakland third baseman Carney Lansford tied the LCS record for hits over two consecutive games when he delivered a leadoff single in the eighth inning. He has six hits so far and also owns an 11-game playoff hitting streak.

* What do the Red Sox have against Mike Gallego? Boston starter Dana Kiecker threw a pitch behind Gallego in the third TC inning and hit him with a pitch in the fifth. Reliever Jeff Reardon hit also Ron Hassey with a pitch in the eighth.

* Clemens came close to being thrown out of last night's game in the seventh for barking at plate umpire John Hirschbeck. This proved, at least, that Clemens will speak if provoked.

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