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Monday, March 4, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mariner Spring Training

Crash Sidelines Griffey Sr., Ruins $84,000 Auto

TEMPE, Ariz. - As bad as the news was about Ken Griffey Sr., who will be out an indefinite period, and his car, which was totaled in a crash over the weekend, it could have been worse. Much worse, his son said.

The elder Griffey had tried to borrow Ken Griffey Jr.'s car.

``If he had,'' Junior said yesterday, ``he'd be gone.''

Ken Jr. said his car, a rear-engine Porsche, would not have stood up to the impact of the collision, in which a Ford truck rear-ended the elder Griffey's 1991 Mercedes Benz Saturday afternoon.

``His $84,000 900 SEL,'' the son said with a moan. ``In my car, he'd have gotten the engine off the back of his head in a crash like that. As it was, his golf clubs wound up in the back seat. And they started in the trunk.''

When Ken Sr. showed up this morning, he hobbled noticeably. ``I'm fine,'' he said, ``but I'm now driving a two-ped, with what's left of my car.''

Griffey reportedly was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, which happened after he pulled over and slowed to let an emergency vehicle pass.

Griffey said the accident occurred on an approach street to Interstate 10.

``I was at an intersection, and the impact of the crash pushed my car into the intersection,'' he said. ``It was so sudden, there was no time for any thought at all. But I was scared right afterward that I would get hit by another car, in the intersection.''

Griffey was taken to St. Luke's Hospital Saturday for X-rays on his neck. They were negative.

Yesterday, Seattle team doctor Larry Pedegana had Griffey back for X-rays of his lower back.

``He has a lumbo-sacral strain and a strained neck,'' said Pedegana, the team's orthopedic specialist. ``There are no fractures, and it doesn't look like anything serious.''

Pedegana said the recovery period was ``uncertain at this time.'' He added, ``We'll see how he responds to treatment, and the early treatment is bed rest. We'll have a better idea how long this will take in the next three or four days.''

With the Mariners' exhibition schedule starting Friday, Griffey is expected to miss at least the first part of the Cactus League season.

``The injury isn't real bad, but it could take him a bit of time to be ready,'' Manager Jim Lefebvre said. ``But that's OK. We've got young guys like Patrick Lennon and Dennis Hood and Greg Briley who can use the playing time.''

NOTES

-- Manager Jim Lefebvre is hoping to play at least one and perhaps two intrasquad games Wednesday and Thursday. ``Our pitchers lost two days of throwing with the rain and they're behind,'' he said. ``With 24 pitchers, I'd like to play two six-inning games and let them all pitch a half-inning each, just to let them get on a mound and throw.''

-- In throwing yesterday, Hanson showed a great curveball, newcomer Dave Richards (from Detroit) a good forkball. Both Bill Swift and Russ Swan had their sinkers going.

When Hanson was warming up, catcher Dave Cochrane said, ``If an umpire won't call that curve a strike, I'd throw him out of the game.''

Hanson knocked Jeff Schaefer down with an inside pitch. Schaefer, part pepperpot, part comedian, jumped to his feet and faked a charge of the mound.

-- Pitchers had fielding drills on in-between balls to the right side, field or go to first; on harder balls to first and second; and come-backers with a turn and throw to second.

Coach Dan Warthen explained that on the in-between play, the pitcher must head directly for the bag. If he can snag the ball en route, fine; if not, he must get to the bag and take a throw. On the harder-hit ball to the right side, taken either by the first or second baseman (with the first baseman leaving to try to field the grounder), the pitcher heads for the first base line about 10 feet short of the bag, and runs up the inside of the line to give the fielder a longer target to throw to.

- Bob Finnigan

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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