Joyner signed; Henderson making demands

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 25, 2000

The Associated Press

Wally Joyner’s foot is hurt and Rickey Henderson’s feelings are hurt, headlining a spring training that in its second week already is shaping up as one of baseball’s busiest.

Friday, February 25, 2000

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Wally Joyner’s foot is hurt and Rickey Henderson’s feelings are hurt, headlining a spring training that in its second week already is shaping up as one of baseball’s busiest.

Joyner, acquired by Atlanta in case Andres Galarraga isn’t ready to play first base again following cancer rehab, broke a bone in his right foot during batting practice and might miss the season opener.

”They traded for me to take care of Galarraga,” Joyner said Thursday, wearing a boot cast on his foot. ”Now, he’s got to take care of me.”

The New York Mets, the Braves’ main rival in the NL East, need to take care of their own problem.

Henderson has become is a daily distraction for the Mets. He arrived one day late, then demanded his role must change and now says he won’t go to Japan for the season-opening series with the Cubs.

”I know he doesn’t want to go, but he’ll go,” general manager Steve Phillips.

Elsewhere, Alex Rodriguez met with the Mariners and reiterated his stance that he will test free agency after the season, Oakland manager Art Howe signed a one-year contract extension and Ray Lankford finally arrived at Cardinals camp.

Joyner, 37, received a hairline fracture in the first metatarsal bone Wednesday after fouling a pitch from John Smoltz off the front foot. The injury was X-rayed Thursday, revealing the break.

Joyner was acquired during the offseason in a six-player deal with San Diego. The Braves insisted that he be part of the trade in case Galarraga struggles to recapture his form after missing an entire season for cancer treatment.

Dr. Joe Chandler, the team physician, said Joyner will be out 2-6 weeks. The first baseman said he is confident of being back in time for the April 3 opener.

First base is one of the team’s deepest positions. The Braves also have Brian Hunter, Randall Simon and Bobby Bonilla.

”It’s not like Wally is going to be out all year,” manager Bobby Cox said. ”He’ll be fine.”

Manager Bobby Valentine said earlier this week that if Henderson wants to play in the late innings, he should work on his defense this spring.

”Defense is not one of the things I have a problem with,” Henderson said. ”I don’t see anybody here who they have in the outfield who can outplay me in defense.”

Phillips said that after his talk with Henderson, the outfielder and Valentine were scheduled to talk today. Valentine said earlier in the week that Henderson should seek him out if he has complaints.

”If he’s not going to walk into this office, then the old mountain will go to Mohammed,” Valentine said.

The Mets did get some good news Thursday when pitcher Bill Pulsipher was released from the hospital one day after collapsing unconscious on his bathroom floor.

”I feel fine now, but it was a heck of a scare,” Pulsipher said. ”The good thing is I’m not dead. I’m alive, so I’m not going to call it bad luck.”

Pulsipher had a chest X-ray, an EKG, a CAT scan of the brain, blood tests and testing of his blood gases while he was at the hospital. Team physician Dr. David Altchek said all tests were negative.

”The question is, ‘What happened?” Altchek said. ”The answer is we don’t know what happened.”

Rodriguez and his agent, Scott Boras, met with Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln, club president Chuck Armstrong and general manager Pat Gillick in Peoria, Ariz.

A joint statement issued by the club after the meeting said Rodriguez ”expressed his keen desire” to play for the Mariners this season and then file for free agency.

Howe, who kept the surprising Athletics in contention for a playoff spot until the final weeks of last season, was given a one-year extension that runs through the 2001 season. It is Howe’s second extension since the A’s hired him in November 1995.

”It’s nice to know I’m going to be around for at least another year,” he said. ”When I first came here my goal was to turn things around, and I think we’re on the right road.”

Lankford showed up for spring training in Jupiter, Fla., a day late Thursday, wondering what the fuss was about.

”I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” Lankford said.

General manager Walt Jocketty spoke briefly with Lankford, who also met with manager Tony La Russa before practice. There will be no disciplinary action since the mandatory reporting date is March 1.

”Something came up that I guess he had to take care of,” Jocketty said. ”But he should have called. Everything could have been avoided if he’d made a phone call.”