RED DOWN: Hospitalized Cincinnati 2B Bill Doran has a possible herniated disk and may need surgery. Manager Lou Piniella says it's improbable he'll be available for the playoffs: "He's a gutty little kid, but this may take more than guts."

The Reds must decide today whether to replace Doran, an Aug. 31 acquisition from the Astros, on the playoff roster.

Eric Davis took batting practice for the first time since spraining his left shoulder running into an outfield wall five days before, plans to play today and is penciled in to bat cleanup in the NLCS opener Thursday. He says he's used to playing hurt.

LAST STRAW: Darryl Strawberry says it will take more than money to keep him in New York. The Mets had better sign some good players, and the team needs to change its attitude.

He's interested in the Dodgers: "They have quality hitters already -- Kal Daniels, Hubie Brooks, Eddie Murray. If I'm in the middle of that lineup, that'd be great -- that's what I want."

DOUBLE-A NEON: Deion Sanders may realize his dream of playing football and baseball in the same city.

He rejected a waiver claim by the White Sox, making the Atlanta Falcon/ex-Yankee free to negotiate with any baseball team. And Atlanta Braves President Stan Kasten said, "It wouldn't surprise me if we're able to offer him something that makes sense to him and to the Braves."

SSSSSTT: A Goodyear blimp punctured by a model airplane may not be repaired in time to televise the AL playoffs. But the blimp, Columbia, which sustained a 3-by-3-foot tear, will be patched and on hand when the World Series opens, a spokesman said. A man was arrested, apparently for intentionally flying the model into the blimp, which was ripped open and landed at its base south of Los Angeles.

PADRES HIRE: Ex-Mets executive Joe McIlvaine signed as San Diego GM, for an estimated $1.6 million over five years.

CARDINALS FIRE: Manager Joe Torre says only two of six coaches on the St. Louis staff he inherited will be back next season: Red Schoendienst and bullpen coach Dave Ricketts. Gone will be Steve Braun, Jim Riggleman, Rich Hacker and Mike Roarke.

AMEN: One more time, Nolan Ryan and the Rangers, in the person of owner George W. Bush, said it's so: Ryan will still be pitching for Texas in '91.