The New York Yankees' Ed Whitson will be used out of the bullpen at home and will start only on the road in a move by Manager Lou Piniella to insulate the pitcher from further fan threats and hate mail.

The trouble began last season after Whitson was acquired from San Diego as a free agent. He got off to a 1-6 start and routinely was booed. He and his family received threatening mail and nails were found under his tires in the players' parking lot. He finished the season 10-8.

"Physically, I'm fine," Whitson said. "It's the mental aspect. I can watch these two shoulders," he added, pointing to himself. "But I can't watch my daughter and my wife when I'm on the road." He said his family no longer attends games at Yankee Stadium and he takes them with him on the road . . .

White House spokesman Larry Speakes, a broad grin on his face, refused to admit that President Reagan misspoke when he said he had been to four Baltimore Orioles opening-day games -- all of which the Orioles lost.

During his televised news conference Wednesday night, Reagan said: "I've been there four times and they've lost all four games, and I don't think I'm welcome back."

Reporters later pointed out that Reagan has been to only three games.

But Speakes, raising the issue during a morning briefing with reporters, refused to budge. He claimed, to ripples of laughter, that Reagan was "peeking through a knot hole in left field" in 1954 when the "late St. Louis Browns" became the Baltimore Orioles.