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Original Issue

INSIDE PITCH (April 15-21)

The trade of Atlanta's Alex Trevino to the Giants was buried in the agate columns last week as all of baseball gasped at the $2 million-a-year contract Ozzie Smith got to stay in St. Louis. But in the Brave New World of baseball, there is no one more reckless than Ted Turner when it comes to a dotted line. Trevino, who hit .243 in '84, with 28 RBIs, was one more mistake he had to eat.

When new manager Eddie Haas decided this spring that Trevino, a Joe Torre favorite, was going to be his third-string catcher, the Braves tried to move him and his four-year, $2.1 million contract. No way. Atlanta obtained Trevino for $50,000 from the Reds last year, and when his bat was hot for a few games. Turner made him rich. To trade him to San Francisco, Turner had to assume Trevino's deferred payments, totaling $1.1 million, which could buy a lot of CBS stock.

Turner is also stuck with reliever Gene Garber, who will get $750,000 in each of the next two seasons—a contract that was given despite the advice to the contrary from Turner's front office. But Garber was one of his favorites. Turner has also given seven Braves no-trade clauses, and because of those, Donnie Moore, who would have been the set-up man for Bruce Sutter this year, could not be protected in this winter's free-agent compensation draft. Moore is now the stopper for the Angels.

Julio Franco of the Indians was leading the AL in batting (.516) when he disappeared before Saturday's game at Yankee Stadium. Team officials frantically called hospitals and police stations, but it was only after the game that the mystery was at least partly cleared up. Here is how The New York Times reported it:

"...a man who identified himself as a friend of Franco appeared in the Indians' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium and identified himself as Juan Todman. He said that Franco spent Friday night in the Bronx home of Juan's brother, Marciano Todman, who is a friend of Franco. Juan said he had gone to yesterday's game, and when he saw that Franco did not play, he wondered where the shortstop was. Marciano has no phone, he said, so Juan said he called his mother, who also lives in the Bronx but at a separate residence. She didn't know where Franco was, according to Juan, but a sister of Marciano and Juan said Franco was still at Marciano's home and he was sick."

Franco's roommate, Tony Bernazard, and coach Bobby Bonds found Franco at the home of Marciano, the friend of Julio who is also the brother of Juan...never mind. Franco was indeed sick, and he was taken back to the team's hotel. On Sunday, Franco went 1 for 4.

Eleven games into the season, the Braves' Dale Murphy has six homers, 18 RBIs, a .439 average and the awe of the National League. "His stats," says teammate Rick Mahler, "are like something out of Little League or high school. You just don't see guys doing that in the majors."

Murphy's stats project to 88 homers and 268 RBIs over 162 games, but, realistically, he won't hit more than, say, 61 homers and drive in, oh, 190 runs. Said Pete Rose after watching his 6 for 13 spree against the Reds, "The way Murphy's going, I tell my pitchers 'Well done' when they keep him in the ball park." Or as Mario Soto, one of Rose's pitchers, said after Dale went deep on him, "I don't challenge Murphy. Never him, not ever, even if he's 0 for 20."

The week's identity crises:

•The Blue Jays' Lloyd Moseby, a serious hitter, didn't drive in a run until his ninth game when he homered off Texas's Frank Tanana. "The fans thought the scoreboard was wrong when they saw the zeros up there by my name," he said. "I had to do something about it."

•When the Orioles were in Cleveland, Baltimore manager Joe Altobelli, who played 125 of his 166 big league games for the Indians, saw "Joe Altobetti" on the scoreboard. "I know I didn't hit much here," said Altobelli, who hit .210 in the bigs, "but jeez...."

•Bob Uecker, the Brewers' play-by-play man when he isn't sitting in the upper deck, was waiting for the bus in the visiting clubhouse in Detroit when a reporter from a small Michigan paper approached him. After telling Uecker how much he liked his Lite Beer commercials, he asked, "What are you doing here? Are you a Tiger fan?"

Mickey Rivers, released by Texas in spring training, offers this assessment of the Rangers: "That team's never gonna get out of last place until the manager and coaching staff are replaced."

"I can't figure out why Mickey would say something like that," said manager Doug Rader. "But how much credibility can you give it?"

"I have a lot of respect for the way Doug has handled this situation," designated hitter Cliff Johnson said of the Rangers' 0-5 start. But one player, who preferred anonymity, offered this opinion: "Mickey's a pretty smart man."

The Hagler-Hearns fight must have been contagious. Dan Gladden and Jeff (Sugar Ray) Leonard of the Giants ended up in a pile behind the batting cage in Cincinnati Friday night when some pregame needling got serious. Gladden is the leadoff hitter, and it's his job to allocate the number of swings for each round of BR But he lost track of the swings, and his teammates got on his case. When Leonard started poking Gladden in the chest, the bell sounded for Round 1 of the fight.

"I was just helping him out of a slump," said Gladden, tongue lodged firmly in cheek. Leonard, a .125 hitter going in, went 2 for 4, but he still seemed to want to lodge his fist firmly in Gladden's cheek. He also resigned the Giants' captaincy. "If I let an incident like that get me riled up, I shouldn't do it," Leonard said. Two days later, Leonard apologized to the team and asked to be reinstated as captain.




Ozzie was only looking out for No. 1.



Why is this man flipping out? Well, it was the Cardinals' home opener, but it was also the day that shortstop Ozzie Smith signed a five-year, $10 million contract, making his the most expensive glove in baseball history.


MARIO SOTO: The Cincinnati starter had a pair of 2-1, complete-game victories as the NL West-leading Reds won seven straight. In beating the Braves and Giants, Soto fanned 19 and walked five.

"My goal is to take the club to arbitration when I'm 50—and win," said Jerry Koosman, the Phillies' 42-year-old lefty, after pitching eight shutout innings against the Cubs. "That is, unless they sign me to a long-term contract when I'm 49."