New York Mets first baseman Mike Marshall, who has been on the disgruntled list since the middle of last month, probably will be assigned to the disabled list shortly. No matter; his days as an active member of the Mets probably are about to end. That became evident Saturday, the day Marshall was hospitalized and the day after he and Bud Harrelson had a loud and ugly clubhouse argument.
Marshall was diagnosed Sunday as suffering inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, and he was released from the hospital and sent back to New York to rest. Harrelson said Marshall will be placed on the disabled list for two weeks, but he also indicated that a deal to move Marshall elsewhere was "being worked on."The manager said little about his Friday afternoon confrontation with the unhappy first baseman. He did say the situation had been "resolved and solved"; that he could not recall a louder clubhouse argument in his long tenure with the team, and that Marshall had been miffed about not starting in the second game of Thursday night's doubleheader against Cincinnati Reds left-hander Danny Jackson.
But players characterized the exchange as "shocking" and "ugly." Harrelson and Marshall hurled obscenities at each other, one player said. He quoted Harrelson as saying, "What are you gonna do, hit me?" The player said, "They were pretty hot. Buddy yelled at him, `If you don't want to play for me, take off the uniform and go home." According to the player, the argument ended quickly after the two moved their meeting from Harrelson's office to the clubhouse.
When Marshall took off his Mets uniform after the game Friday, it may have been for the last time.
He never put it on Saturday. He was admitted to the hospital early in the afternoon, having felt ill for an extended period. Harrelson said he spoke with the team trainers Friday and urged them to speak with Marshall about blood tests.
Some tests were conducted Saturday, and additional tests are scheduled for Sunday, when a more definite diagnosis will be made. The Mets said Marshall may remain hospitalized as late as Monday before moving to a hospital in New York.
Harrelson did not think the argument with Marshall prompted the stomach problems. "You don't get an ulcer overnight. I'm not to blame," he said. But players joked about just that. "It didn't help," one player said. "Mike's been upset for a long time."
Players said Marshall went back into Harrelson's office after the argument, but nothing was settled. Players said Marshall was not happy about the confrontation, but believed he might have accomplished his purpose and prompted the Mets to deal him.
"He came to a couple of us after it was over and said Buddy wouldn't listen," a player said. "Mike said he tried to do it the right way - ask to be traded, keep his mouth shut and wait. Now he's kind of happy that he might get out of here. They're not going to get along after that."
Mets vice president Al Harazin said the club has tried to accommodate Marshall and noted that Marshall's condition could jeopardize any trade possibility. Players cannot be traded when assigned to the disabled list, and the trading deadline is midnight July 31.