Butch Metzger, National League rookie of the year 1976 (jointly with Cincinnati pitcher Pat Zachry), and John D'Acquisto, NL rookie pitcher of the year 1974, swapped baseball uniforms yesterday.
Metzger fired some high hard ones at San Diego management by way of a raise-in-pay pitch when the Padres acquired Rollie Fingers to join him in the bullpen at much higher wager, but failed to put his 1977 performance where his mouth, and his '76 excellence, were. In contrast to his 11-4 WL, 16 saves and 2.93 ERA as a rookie, he takes an 0-0 log and 5.87 ERA to the St. Louis Cardinals while the Padres let Fingers do the walking in from their bullpen as just about their only bright pitching spot these days.
Buzzie Bavasi will be hoping that D'Acquisto can return to his form of three years ago when he was 12-14 with 3.77 ERA for a San Francisco Giants club that finished 72-90. The righthander has never come close, what with arm trouble and control problems, and this year is 0-0 for a grand total of eight innings with the Cards, who obtained him from the Giants in the offseason. But San Diego is his hometown, where he was a high school phenom, so he might get inspired.
Bavasi was on the telephone in a hurry after Tuesday's debacle in Chicago, in which Metzger served up three consecutive home runs out of the Cubs' bag of seven that buried the Padres, 23-6. "Some of our pitchers may not have any pride but I do," said Bavasi, whose team has a worse record than his general-manager son Peter's brand-new Toronto Blue Jays. So he not only traded with the Cards but shipped Vic Bernal (1-1) and Brent Strom (0-2) down to Hawaii and brought up lefthander Bob Owchinko, former All-America at Eastern Michigan, and righty Dave Wehrmeister - who was an0-4 flop for San Diego at the outset of the 1976 season.