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GIANTS ARE RATHER FRAGILE, BUT CUBS ARE JUST FINE

SHARE GIANTS ARE RATHER FRAGILE, BUT CUBS ARE JUST FINE

Pitching is important and so is hitting and fielding. But the one element all teams really hope for now is health.

Every year, some injury seems to get in the way as teams head into the baseball playoffs.San Diego lost Kevin McReynolds in 1984, a tarpaulin ate Vince Coleman in 1985, Tom Seaver missed the postseason for Boston in 1986 and Jack Clark was out with St. Louis in 1987.

Then again, Kirk Gibson got only one swing in last year's World Series, and that was enough to swing it for the Dodgers.

This time, San Francisco was fragile while the Chicago Cubs were fine going into Wednesday's opening game of the NL playoffs.

The Giants, who lost postseason ace Dave Dravecky to a broken arm in August, are still hurting. Pitchers Don Robinson and Craig Lefferts are tender and starting catcher Terry Kennedy is only so-so.

"We're not as strong pitching-wise because of the injuries," Manager Roger Craig said Tuesday during a workout at Wrigley Field.

Lefferts, who has pitched 12 scoreless innings in postseason play, has a sore shoulder.

"I probably won't be able to use him as much as I'd like," Craig said.

Robinson, who Craig wants to be in the starting rotation, has stretched ligaments in his right knee, but was deemed OK after pitching batting practice.

Kennedy injured his arm last Sunday. He is a left-handed hitter and will start Game 1 against right-hander Greg Maddux, but Craig said Kennedy may not be able to play every day against the Cubs' all-righty rotation.

"That could be a problem," Craig admitted.

The teams had until midnight to determine their rosters. The Giants waited until after Tuesday afternoon's practice, while the Cubs were set a week ago.

"We're healthy, and that helps," second baseman Ryne Sandberg said. "You can use the guys you want and don't have to worry about who can't play."

Each team chose a nine-man pitching staff. The Giants kept Atlee Hammaker, who was 6-6 with a 3.76 earned-run average in 76 2-3 innings, and dropped Bob Knepper, who went 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA for San Francisco after being released by Houston.

The Giants left two other veterans off their roster. Injury-plagued infielder Chris Speier and little-used catcher Bob Brenly were replaced by reserve catcher Bill Bathe and infielder Greg Litton.

Whatever little nagging injuries that have accumulated during the season won't be helped by the weather.

Tonight's forecast calls for wind, of course, with temperatures in the middle 40s.

Which way the wind is blowing could have a small influence of which way the series goes. San Francisco out-homered the Cubs 141-124 and might prefer the wind blowing out so Kevin Mitchell, Will Clark and the rest of the big hitters can take advantage.