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McGwire sees DH duty in his future

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 10, 2000


ST. LOUIS -- If the Cardinals make it to the World Series, Mark McGwire believes he'll be ready for DH duty.

"I'd love to get four or five at-bats," McGwire said. "It would be great."

McGwire hasn't gotten that type of action since early July, when he went on the disabled list with severe knee tendinitis. Since he returned Sept. 8, he's been limited to one at-bat per game.

McGwire said running out a grounder as a pinch-hitter in Atlanta at pretty much full speed was a huge step in the right direction.

"It's going away," he said of the pain. "I got out of the box and I started running and said, "Hey, this isn't feeling too bad.' I was pretty encouraged."

He also felt that it was about time, considering all the rehab he's put the knee through this season.

"We haven't stopped doing anything," he said. "You think over a course of time, it's going to heal some day."

Manager Tony La Russa was pleased that McGwire, limited to 32 homers this year after hitting a record 70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999, was feeling better.

"Potentially, it's real exciting," La Russa said. "I know it's been depressing and discouraging. To speak in a positive way, none of us has seen that."

La Russa wasn't getting too excited, because the Cardinals first have to get past the Mets. Their best-of-seven NLCS begins Wednesday night in St. Louis.

"It doesn't mean he's going to play first base in this series," La Russa said. "The worst thing you can do is make plans for the next one."

Mets happy to see Cards

NEW YORK -- The Mets are providing a little bulletin board material for the Cardinals.

The Mets aren't shy about expressing their preference for playing St. Louis instead of their nemesis, the Braves.

"I was a little relieved," reliever Turk Wendell said of the Braves being eliminated. "That is a team that mentally puts a lot of pressure on other teams. It puts pressure on guys to think that they have to be perfect."

New York has been far from it against Atlanta. The Mets are 14-29 against the Braves the past three seasons, including a loss in last year's NLCS.

While the champagne was spraying throughout the New York clubhouse Sunday after eliminating San Francisco in four games, the Mets were happy not to have to answer questions about why they are spooked by Atlanta.

"Nothing derogatory against them, but I'm glad to see them lose," first baseman Todd Zeile said. "This team has not had much success against them."

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