Get ready, Tucson, J.R. is picking up steam.
By next week at this time, perhaps, J.R. Richard might be movin' on up to Triple-A, according to Houston organization officials watching over the 1980 stroke victim's pitching comeback in the Class A Florida State League. One more start like his last one, Wednesday, could be his ticket out of Daytona Beach: five-hit complete game, 6-2 win over the Fort Lauderdale Yankees, and let Daytona Astros' Manager Eric Swanson tell you:
"Consistent velocity. No walks, eight strikeouts. Slider around the plate all night. Fast ball above average. Hitting the corners at 90 mph."
Daytona's general manager (facing loss of a drawing card) tempers, "Super outing, but he was facing Class A players." Still, Richard walked off the mound with a smile . . .
Dick Coury, as presumed, has been named coach and general manager of U.S. Football League's Boston entry. Leaving as Philly Eagles' receivers coach, Coury, 52, gets three-year contract, hopes he's into something more permanent than his 1974 head coaching role with old WFL's Portland Storm . . . Retired: last of the Super Bowl III Jets, Randy Rasmussen. Signed: tight end Don Warren, to three new one-year Redskin contracts . . . and Harold Jackson, 36, No. 1 active career NFL receiver, picked up by San Diego . . . Moved?: You bet, Raiders' executive assistant, Al LoCasale, and Coach Tom Flores say, insisting at Los Angeles news conference you'll see 'em in L.A. Coliseum this season (at $10, $15 and $18 per seat). Unless, said LoCasale, the NFL beats 'em with a "99-yard field goal with the wind in its face." He denied the Oakland newspaper report that boss Al Davis still dickered with Oakland city officials after agreeing to play in L.A.
Tour de France: Sean Kelly of Ireland won 12th leg, 154 miles from Fleurance to Pau as the bicycle pack began the mountainous portion of the grind. Kelly is fifth overall, with Bernard Hinault (11th for the day) retaining leader's yellow jersey . . . Record Channel swim, France to England, 8 hours 52 minutes by Briton Richard Charlesworth, 18 (old mark, 9:35, Barry Watson, 1964; England-to-France record is 8:45) . . .
In Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium Saturday, 1:30, it's Virginia high school all-star football, East-West, with Fort Hunt's Bill Turner one of the West quarterbacks, Oakton's Danny Burmeister and West Springfield's Chuck Herring among the receivers, and McLean's Notre Dame-bound Eric Dorsey looming as a bulwark of the West defensive front . . . Saturday in town: Anacostia Tennis Association's sixth annual celebrity tournament, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Anacostia Park; benefits National Junior Tennis League program . . . Sunday evening, Greater Washington Sports Authority (it lives!) and Cracker Jack Classic sponsors assemble baseball all-timers at game's-eve public reception, Hyatt Regency. Proceeds to Heroes Inc.
Rumor from ACC heartland: Jim Thacker maybe gone after 17 years, now that Raycom has the league basketball TV, with Marty Brenneman, Cincinnati Reds' radio, maybe in . . . Video revolution, cont'd: NBC to show taped highlights instead of live coverage of Greater Hartford Open next month--sending leaders out to play in the morning. Good morning!