Dave Henderson scratched from series


TORONTO -- The Oakland Athletics have played short-handed all year, so why should the American League Championship Series be any different?

Outfielder Dave Henderson was AL playoff notes

scratched from the series yesterday with a sore hamstring, leaving rookie Eric Fox with a well-deserved spot on the club's postseason roster.

Manager Tony La Russa had until midnight last night to complete his roster, and he waited until Henderson and left-handed reliever Rick Honeycutt worked out yesterday before deciding on the final configuration of his club. Honeycutt, who has been hampered by a muscle strain in his hip, will be activated for the series at the expense of rookie Vince Horsman.

Henderson has struggled all season with a badly strained right hamstring. He appeared in 20 regular-season games. But the club held out hope that he would be available as a pinch hitter and possible right-handed DH.

"I can't run without pain and I haven't all year," Henderson said yesterday. "It has hurt me off and on, and it has kept me from playing Dave Henderson-type baseball."

Rickey on Jose

Outfielder Rickey Henderson didn't hesitate when someone asked him to compare departed slugger Jose Canseco and the main man who came to Oakland for him -- Ruben Sierra.

"Ruben Sierra is more of a complete player," Henderson said. "Ruben is physically a better outfielder, and he's a faster guy on the base paths. He doesn't hit [as many] home runs, but he hits a lot of line drives."

So, was Henderson saying that he would have made the controversial deal that sent Canseco to the Texas Rangers for Sierra, Bobby Witt and Jeff Russell?

"It wasn't a deal I would have made," he said, hedging. "I'd like to have both of them."

Rickey on Rickey

Henderson had chosen not to talk to the media for much of the 1992 season, but he couldn't resist the call of the postseason media crush in Toronto.

"I really don't want to [talk]," he said. "I guess this is a special moment. You have to put aside the hate and have to ask the good Lord to forgive and forget."

This gun for hire

Blue Jays starter Jack Morris scoffed at the notion that he was signed by Toronto just because of his 7-1 record in playoff and World Series play.

"I've been asked that question a lot the past two weeks," he said. "I guess I should have just showed up yesterday. I would have made a lot more money in a lot less time."

Blue Jays roster moves

The Blue Jays didn't surprise anyone with their roster deletions. Right-hander Dave Stieb, who finished the season on the disabled list, was not added to the postseason roster. Neither was utility man Rance Mulliniks, who made just four plate appearances all year.

If there was an unexpected addition, it was third catcher Randy Knorr, who had 19 at-bats all year and has been sidelined with TC hand injury.

Key in relief

Blue Jays pitcher Jimmy Key was one of the top left-handed starters in the league from 1985 through last season, but he's going to be largely a mop-up man in this series.

"You can use him as a long man," manager Cito Gaston said. "You can also use him to get Harold Baines out or turn somebody around. Most of the guys they run out there are right-handed hitters."

Sierra contributes heavily

The A's lost their first five games after the Canseco deal, but they started winning as soon as Sierra came back from a case of the chickenpox. Oakland won 10 of the first 11 games he played in and went 14-7 from the time he arrived until the club clinched the American League West title.

Winfield on AL East race

Someone asked veteran outfielder Dave Winfield if the close pennant race has helped battle-harden the Blue Jays:

"Does it help?" he replied. "It's speculative, but I don't think we would have wanted it any other way. We had Baltimore and Milwaukee on our heels all year, and it helped heighten our awareness of how important each game was and pushed us to the limit. It worked in our favor and bodes well for us."

More medical reports

* Oakland reliever Jeff Russell will be available for the series. He had been out more than two weeks with elbow tendinitis, but came back to pitch two scoreless innings in Oakland's regular-season finale on Sunday. Russell has pitched 9 2/3 scoreless innings since he joined the club on Sept. 1.

* Blue Jays shortstop Manuel Lee remains questionable with a pulled left hamstring, but he is tentatively scheduled to be in the starting lineup tonight.

* Oakland utility infielder Jerry Browne also is questionable with a hamstring injury. He hasn't played since Sept. 26.

* A's catcher Terry Steinbach suffered an abdominal pull on Sept. 26, but he returned to play the final two games of the regular season.

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