SEATTLE -- Cleveland Indians starter Orel Hershiser knows all about pitching out of the bullpen in a big playoff series, and he expressed concern about the effect it might have on Seattle Mariners ace Randy Johnson.
Hershiser made a playoff relief appearance against the New York Mets during his amazing late-season run in 1988, appearing in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on the day after a seven-inning start. He went on to pitch well in the World Series and the following season, before his shoulder went sour in 1990.
"That's the one thing I worried about with Randy," said Hershiser, who will start against Seattle's Tim Belcher tonight in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. "He's such a great asset to the game. To see the shoulder problems he had this year and then to pitch the innings he did, I worried for him a little bit."
The 37-year-old right-hander doesn't blame former manager Tom Lasorda or the '88 playoffs for the injury that cost him most of the 1990 season and part of '91, but he wonders if the cumulative effect of all the innings he pitched as the Dodgers' workhorse finally took its toll. He also wonders about Johnson, but he knows a player will agree to do almost anything once the postseason begins.
"I'm sure Lou [Piniella] asked him if he could do it," Hershiser said. "I know that Tommy came to me and asked me. . . . That just shows that a player -- and management -- will make any sacrifice when you get to this point."
Hershiser seemed unconcerned about the decibel levels he figures to face tonight.
"I think when it gets to that point, it's like an ocean roar . . . it can almost help your concentration," he said. "I'd much rather have 50,000 people screaming than one guy behind the dugout in Pittsburgh who yells something and grabs your concentration."
One Ripken made playoffs
Cleveland second baseman Bill Ripken was in uniform, but he is not on the Indians' playoff roster. He could be available for the World Series if the Indians are forced into a roster change.
Piniella: No problem
Mariners manager Piniella refused to concede that his club is at a disadvantage because of the way the divisional series stretched his pitching staff, even though the club had to call up rookie Bob Wolcott to pitch in Game 1.
"We're at home. Cleveland is rested, but sometimes it's better to play than to sit too long."
Heart of the matter
Someone asked Piniella if the Indians' ability to hold Boston's Mo Vaughn and Jose Canseco to a combined 0-for-27 would affect his outlook on the ALCS.
"If Ken Griffey and Edgar Martinez go 0-for-27 off Cleveland, we won't win," Piniella said, "but I don't see that happening."
Mariners outfielder Vince Coleman, who started the season as a free agent and was later released by Kansas City, still says that this has been one of his best years.
"I think this has been the most fun I've had," he said.
To that, one New York tabloid reporter asked him if the worst year was one with the Mets.
"Where are you from?" Coleman asked.
"New York," he was told.