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Six Cut After Squad Game
Hits Tickle Torre

By Neal Russo
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"First Spring Training Cut"

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 28 – Joe Torre had just had his first three-hit game of the spring and, even though it didn’t count, the swarthy Cardinal was proud.

"I didn’t think I’d be hitting 100 all year," Torre said, alluding to his .125 batting average for the exhibition games. He got more than one hit in only one of those games.

Torre, who doubled and singled twice off Nelson Briles in a squad game yesterday, said, "I’ve moved away from the plate and my timing’s been getting a lot better."

Batting coach Dick Sisler concurred.

"Torre’s coming around at just the right time, when the start of the season is approaching," Sisler said. "He’s been hitting the ball sharply and up those alleys."

There were gloomy sides, however, to the squad game, which was extended to 12 innings so that more pitchers could get work. Good Friday had been listed as an off day but manager Red Schoendienst put his men to work because of a rainout Thursday.

Both Steve Carlton and Nelson Briles, two of the staff’s Big Three, were ineffective in the game at the Busch Field minor league complex.

Carlton was wild high. He walked five and allowed three runs in the five innings and yielded 10 hits and four runs, three of which were earned.

Carlton missed much of spring training because he was a holdout. He has worked just six innings in exhibition games.

"It was kind of rough," Carlton said. "You’re herky-jerky out there until you get in a lot of innings. It’s tough catching up. I could have pitched longer but I already had made 101 pitches in the five innings."

Briles said, "If I could have stood up, I’d been all right."

Nellie fell on his stomach several times after delivering the ball, and a key hit resulted from one of his belly-flops.

"But my arm felt fine and my fast ball was good," he said. "I mostly have to work on my breaking pitches."

Schoendienst’s summation: "Nellie didn’t have any good coordination at the beginning and he was struggling, but he got a lot better at the end."

Sal Campisi didn’t hurt his chances for the No.1 role in the bullpen. He allowed three hits and a run in his three innings.

"My control was even better than I figured because I hadn’t pitched in a week," Sal said. "I want to be ready. I’ve waited too long for this chance."

Carl Taylor didn’t have his best day behind the plate. Six members of the Nelson Briles team stole second, but Taylor did gun down Bill Brooks, a speedster borrowed from the Class AA Arkansas farm.

Vic Davalillo had four hits for the Steve Carltons, who won, 7-4, over the Briles squad.

Four players who went hitless yesterday were among the six men sent to the Cardinals’ minor league complex for reassignment yesterday.

They were outfielder Luis Melendez, infielder Jerry DaVanon and outfielder Lee Thomas. Also dropped were Reggie Cleveland and John Hrabosky and catcher Bart Zeller.

Of the six, Melendez, DaVanon and Cleveland were roster members. The roster now is at 28 men, three over the limit. Thirteen of the 28 are pitchers.

In exhibition play, DaVanon was batting .067 (1-for-15), Melendez .000 (0-for-6) and Thomas .000 (0-for-9). However, Cleveland was unscored on in his 10 innings.

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