The pitch, new from Don Sutton's variegated repertoire: "I would go (back) to L.A. in a minute."
And Al Rosen, a slugger from way back who is Sutton's boss as Astros' g.m., lines this latest left-handed trade demand by the California-lovin' righty (no Angel despite a February pitch) back at the box:
"Nobody threatens me. He's staying in Houston whether he's happy or not . . . We dot the i's and cross the t's of every contract and we work our butts off to sign Sutton (for four years, $3.5 million prior to 1981 season when, as a free agent, the 15-year Dodger wasn't so stuck on California). So I have a responsibility to the owner, stockholders and fans. I'm not letting him go, period."
Sutton: "I don't want people to think I'm an ingrate, but my family's my priority now. I can't help it and I can't lie . . ."
The K.C. Royals came close to losing a pitcher in Fort Myers, Fla. Renie Martin drove up to a 7-Eleven to buy some chaw--just as gun-toting feds were making a drug bust. A passerby evidently thought it was a robbery, because "when I came out," Martin relates, "here come the city cops saying, 'There he is, he just robbed the store.' They yelled to get down, but I didn't think they were talking to me. I just got in my car. They could have shot me, thinking I was trying to get away." At that, they made him lie sprawled on the parking lot, "two guns pointed at me--one at my head. I was scared to death."
Lenvil Elliott, who carried for 31 key yards on the 49ers' drive to pull out the 28-27 NFC championship conquest of Dallas, retires: "Physically, I feel I could play another year," but after Super Bowl XVI, "You can't go out any better than this" . . .
WRC-TV-4 to the rescue, capital-area Wahoo fans: picks up second half of Virginia's NCAA game at Alabama-Birmingham, live, at 11:30 p.m. Thursday. If desperate to catch it from start, drive, carefully, down Fredericksburg way and view Channel 6, Richmond (or Channel 3, Harrisonburg). Injured Othell Wilson's status: "day to day" . . . AU's Gary Williams withdraws as (prime) UNC-Charlotte coaching candidate.
Doug Moe, Nuggets coach, fined $500 (atop automatic $250) by NBA for pursuing ref Lee Jones over a no-call during Feb. 26 Denver-Phoenix contact: "I probably abused the referee enough to get fined . . . If they hadn't put in that part about Macy, I wouldn't have minded." He alluded to the letter from NBA exec Joe Axelson alluding to Moe, en route to locker room, lifting Sun guard Kyle Macy off the floor, spinning him around and asking, "Is this a foul?" . . .
Sports person among five receiving Whitney M. Young Jr. awards at Washington Urban League dinner tonight, Washington Hilton, for "significant contributions to improving quality of life for the minority community": Westley Unseld . . .
Top o' St. Paddy's mornin', and Daniel Doyle, former Trinity College (Hartford) coach enlisting the likes of Al McGuire, Digger Phelps and Kevin Loughery for steering committee, launches an Irish-American Basketball Foundation and a drive to raise $8 million to develop basketball in Ireland (where Doyle will coach the national and Olympic men's teams). Can they grow 7-foot Irishmen?
A. Coaches for Big Ten-ACC Shootout March 31, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Al (Midwest Is Greatest) McGuire vs. Billy (All-ACC) Packer . . . .Q. Former Olympic sprinter hired by L.A. Olympic Organizing Committee to spur ghetto participation in planning 1984 Games?