Harry Dalton "called me this morning and said, 'I have bad news for you,' " Bud Selig related yesterday: Gorman Thomas had been traded to the Cleveland Indians.

Dalton is general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, owned by Selig, who so likes all his players that he says, "I would be a horrible general manager. I wouldn't trade anyone . . ."

Thomas was one of his favorites, but now Selig can learn to love Rick Manning and left-handed Rick Waits (0-1, 4.58 ERA), coming over from Cleveland in exchange for Thomas, lefty Jamie Easterly (0-1, 3.86 ERA) and right-hander Ernie Camacho (0-2, 7.40 at Vancouver).

A dashing figure in center field, Thomas has been--despite his penchant for striking out at a league-leading pace--one of Milwaukee's most popular players since he blossomed, in 1978, into one of the AL's top home run and RBI men. He shared his second home run title (39, with Reggie Jackson) in '82, but hit .181 after Sept. 1, was four for 41 in the playoffs and World Series, and this season Thomas, 32, is at .183, five homers.

So, the Brewers go for Manning, an excellent defensive outfielder and .263 career hitter (.278 in '83) whom they claimed in winter re-entry draft only to see him re-sign with the Indians. Manning had a career-high 17-game hitting streak going when Cleveland made the deal for Thomas; goaded, no doubt, by that stretch between April 9 and May 31 when no Indian hit a home run at home . . .

Pat Corrales has a vote of confidence after a Phillies summit meeting. "Our decision," said Bill Giles, president of the club in a 3-12 slump, "was that Corrales would remain as manager, and there will be no player changes. We do believe we have the team to win the (NL East) division."

Corrales said he figured he might be let go. "Somebody has to answer, and they're not going to fire Schmidt or Carlton." But Giles just criticized some of Corrales' tactical moves--"I was frustrated. I thought he made some mistakes, and I told him"--and promised to give him a free hand . . .

In Boston, a coup, and with all those members of the 1967 "Impossible Dream" team assembled for Tony Conigliaro benefit night: Edward (Buddy) LeRoux seizing control as Red Sox managing general partner and restoring Dick O'Connell as general manager, the post from which he was fired in 1978 by general partners Jean Yawkey and Haywood Sullivan (now ousted as g.m.). Ex-trainer LeRoux cites a vote of limited partners as authorization for the reorganization.