"J.R. will get the kind of workup the president of the United States gets," said the doctor in Texas.
"It's more than a checkup. It's an investigation."
No, this was not shooting victim J. R. Ewing of "Dallas" TV renown. It was James Rodney Richard, the Astro pitching ace with the mysteriously "tired" arm. The quotes are from the team physician, Dr. Harold Brelsford, who scheduled Richard for a battery of tests during several days' stay in Houston's Methodist Hospital, beginning yesterday.
Of speculation Richard's problem is mental or emotional (over pitching twice as well as staffmate Nolan Ryan and making half as much?), the doctor ventured: "If J. R. has any mental problems, it's just too much pressure and too much tension." The club moved to relax same last week when it put Richard on 21-day disabled status and advised him to go home to Ruston, La., to get away from it all.
And, sure enough, as time approached for his neurological and vascular "workups" and radioactive studies, Richard's wife in Louisiana reported the 6-foot-8 swifty with the 10-4 record "gone fishin'" . . .
Jim Craig, the Olympic goalie now a Bruin, will not be backing up Gilles Gilbert after all in Boston while soaking up the savvy of tender-turned-coach Gerry Cheevers. No, the man in front of Craig will be Rogie Vachon. Right -- the Bruins ahve traded Gilbert, who served them well since 1973, to Detroit for Vachon, the little (5-foot-7) one whose 14th NHL campaign was nowhere near the Montreal and Los Angeles brand of Rogie, and after all the trouble (Dale McCourt case and all) the Red Wings went to . . .
The New York Rangers opted for an office shakeup, letting go Mike Nykoluk -- formerly heir apparent to Coach Fred Shero -- in favor of Andre Beaulieu as Shero's assistant coach and bringing in Craig Patrick as director of operations. Patrick, 34 played for several NHL clubs including Washington. Madison Square Garden chief Sonny Werblin, asked if Patrick will be Shero's boss or vice versa, replied, "Neither. They are exactly equal, and both must report to management" -- viz., to Werblin. But Patrick is a Ranger natural -- as grandson of founder Lester Patrick, son of Lynn and nephew of Muzz . . .
At Capital Centre, Abe Pollin has found a replacement for departed Chip Reed as marketing director for the Bullets, and didn't have to look far: Centre p.r. director Bob Zurfluh will just put on a second hat to run the basketball advertising, sales and promotion . . .
The only Greater Washington location for the closed-circuit telecast of the Pipino Cuevas-Thommy Hearns WBA welterweight title match from Detroit Aug. 2 will be Warner Theater in the District. Particulars pending . . .
Frank Kush has weathered one of his many tribulations and come out clear: an FBI investigation linking him with gambling on college sports, according to the Mesa (Ariz.) Tribune. The newspaper says the deposed Arizona State football coach had been under probe from January until a couple of weeks ago . . .
Ex-Maryland quarterback Mark Manges has been cut, already, by the Philly Eagles, and we understand his Terp alternate, Larry Dick, has had to call it a Canadian league career because of a knee injury. But it's up and at 'em for one of their predecessors at QB for U of M, Alan Pastrana. He's the new head football coach at Anne Arundel Community College . . .
Today is wedding day in Bucharest for tennis king Bjorn Borg and Marina Simionesu.
She says: "I have been his companion for four years. I share his life from hotel to hotel. The marriage will not change our existence, but I will be Mrs. Borg. That's important."