Brown's virus is latest bad news for Marlins Ace pushed back a day; Leiter will start Game 4; NLCS notebook


MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins' physical woes continued when Game 1 winning pitcher Kevin Brown stayed home yesterday to rest after contracting a virus, causing him to miss tonight's Game 4 start.

Brown, the Marlins' top starter, had been scheduled to make three starts if the series went the distance, but manager Jim Leyland said it was unlikely he'd be able to pitch a Game 7 now. Al Leiter, scheduled to pitch Game 5, will move up a day and Brown will pitch tomorrow against Greg Maddux.

"I'm not planning on going with Brown [today]," said Leyland. "I feel very comfortable with Al Leiter. I don't think it makes much sense to pitch Kevin. We'll give him the extra day and hopefully he'll be 100 percent."

Marlins No. 2 starter Alex Fernandez found out this week that he had a torn rotator cuff and could miss the 1998 season.

The good news for Florida was that outfielder Moises Alou was able to play last night after receiving another cortisone shot, but was out of the lineup because of a 3-for-27 slate against John Smoltz.

He pinch hit and struck out in the eighth inning against Kerry Ligtenberg.

Lemke ready to return

It's beginning to appear as if second baseman Mark Lemke will be placed on the Braves' roster if they reach the World Series. Lemke, a terror in postseason play, has been disabled with a tender ankle for almost two months.

He went to the Florida Instructional League and "did fine," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Two or three days from now, he'll probably be ready to go at 100 percent again."

Kind words for Fernandez

Fellow pitchers were empathetic after receiving news of Fernandez's diagnosis, which has jeopardized his career.

"You really feel for a guy like Alex," Neagle said. "People say, 'Well, he signed a big contract,' but that's not what it's all about. You have a desire to compete and feel like you're contributing to your teammates."

Another Baltimore-born pitcher, Mike Bielecki of the Braves, knows better than anyone what Fernandez faces. He underwent rotator cuff surgery three weeks ago.

"It's devastating," Bielecki said. "I'm 38 years old, and I think my tires just wore out. He's still a young guy. It's something that's going to take so much time to come back from."

Fernandez is expected to delay the surgery to stay with the team through the postseason.

Around the horn

Intermittent showers had the tarp on the field and forced the teams to take batting practice indoors. Cox said Eddie Perez is likely to start tomorrow afternoon to catch Maddux. The Braves manager pinch-hit Javy Lopez for Perez in the first inning of Game 1. Alou's wife, Austria, gave birth to their third son yesterday. "Now we have a third generation of Alou brothers," Leyland said.

Looking ahead


Potential pitching matchups for the Marlins-Braves series:

Game 5, at Fla., 4: 07 p.m. tomorrow

Atl.: Greg Maddux (*0-1, 0.00)

Fla.: Kevin Brown (*1-0, 4.50)

Game 6, at Atlanta, 8: 07 p.m. Tuesday

Atl.: Tom Glavine (*1-0, 1.17)

Fla.: L. Hernandez (*1-0, 0.00)

Game 7, at Atlanta, 8: 07 p.m. Wednesday

Atl.: John Smoltz (*0-1, 7.50)

Fla.: Undecided

* NLCS stats

Pub Date: 10/11/97

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