Fernando Valenzuela reported to spring training at Vero Beach, Fla., yesterday and said he was not bitter toward the Los Angeles Dodger management after his three-week holdout.
The left-handed Mexican screwballer, who won both the Cy Young and rookie of the year awards in 1981, said he was in good shape despite the holdout.
"I missed my teammates," Valenzuela said through an interpreter. "I was playing in Mexico during the Caribbean series. I have been working out in Los Angeles. In a couple of weeks I should be ready."
At a news conference in Los Angeles Monday, the 21-year-old pitcher criticized management for refusing to seriously negotiate and treating him like a "boy." The Dodgers had threatened to discipline Valenzuela if he did not report to camp by Tuesday (they didn't), but Valenzuela said he has no hard feelings.
"I wasn't bitter," he said. "I am very happy with the Dodgers. The Dodgers were the first team to give me a chance."
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Valenzuela's agent said he was paid a commission for producing a series of commercials for the city school district that were widely publicized as having been donated by Valenzuela.
Tony DeMarco said his firm charged the Los Angeles Unified School District $20,000 for the ads featuring Valenzuela urging kids to stay in school. The agent said he kept "a modest producer's fee, nothing that wouldn't be standard."
New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who had promised Manager Bob Lemon he would not be fired this season, may be having second thoughts.
"The next time he doesn't do what he's told he'll be in real trouble," Steinbrenner said yesterday after the Yankees' 14-6 exhibition loss to the Texas Rangers, their 12th setback in 16 games.
Steinbrenner was upset because Lemon continued to play Dave Revering, usually a first baseman, at third base, where he committed an error in Texas' eight-run sixth inning.
"I told Lem two days ago that I wanted him at first base," said Steinbrenner. "I want him at first base with (Bob) Watson."
Informed of Steinbrenner's threat, Lemon replied: "I have no control over that. He's the boss, and that's all I'm saying."
Earlier, the Yankees acquired Butch Hobson from the California Angels as a backup for third baseman Graig Nettles, apparently ending the Revering experiment.
Hobson said he was "excited about being around Graig Nettles. A third baseman as good as he is should make me a better player."
In return for Hobson, the Yankees sent relief pitcher Bill Castro to the Angels. The deal drew immediate objections from the Major League Baseball Players Association, who said Hobson may have been sent to the Yankees as compensation for the Angels' signing of free agent outfielder Reggie Jackson.