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Spring Training / Dodgers : Trim and Fit Guerrero Arrives at Camp

March 01, 1985|GORDON EDES | Times Staff Writer

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Pedro Guerrero's arrival in camp Thursday attracted more than casual interest. A pool was organized by the beat reporters in which bets were placed predicting the time Guerrero would be sighted in Dodgertown. Jo Lasorda, among others, took part, choosing two times a half-hour apart Thursday evening. Her husband, the manager, did not participate, but volunteered an opinion. "He'll be here at 10 to 8," Lasorda said, "10 minutes before the dining room closes."

Guerrero, sporting a goatee, arrived at 6:15 p.m., accompanied by his wife, Denise, and his mother. He said he almost missed the plane Thursday.

Not only were the Dodgers delighted by Guerrero's presence, they were thrilled at the condition he arrived in. Guerrero said he weighed 200 pounds, which is 18 pounds less than he weighed at this time last year.

"I was working out," he told reporters. "I was playing a little bit of softball just to run, and doing some hitting."

Asked about the Dodgers' plans to keep him at third base, Guerrero said: "I don't know. I'll just go out there and catch some ground balls. But I was hoping they would get somebody.

"I'd be happy to play anywhere but I was just hoping that I could stay in the outfield."

Manager Tom Lasorda, watching his veterans taking their first swings of spring, turned to Mike Marshall, his incumbent left fielder, and gestured to Al Oliver, who at that moment was in left, shagging flies.

"Is he in for a surprise, huh Moose?" Lasorda said, chuckling. "We'll have him out there so long, he's going to need a miner's hat to play out there."

Thus began one of the more intriguing experiments of the 1985 camp: Whether Oliver, at age 38, can play left field on a regular basis for the Dodgers. It seems like only yesterday that the Dodgers decided that Dusty Baker, who was four years younger than Oliver, couldn't handle left anymore. But this is the Dodger youth movement in reverse, and besides, or so the party line goes, Oliver's knees are a lot better than Baker's. His arm, however, remains a question, although he told reporters Thursday that on a scale of 1 to 10, he rates his arm an "8 or 9."

Lasorda said: "We want him to concentrate on left field. We want him to do a lot of work out there, so by the end of spring training we'll know if he can play out there.

"I'd love to have his bat in the lineup."

The current Plan A is that Oliver can handle left, with Marshall shifting to right. But remember, this is a club that went through more than 100 different lineup combinations last season. R.J. Reynolds and Candy Maldonado, among others, have designs on starting in right.

Dodger Notes Orel Hershiser and Dave Anderson remain unsigned. Al Campanis spoke for more than an hour with the players' agent, Bob Fraley, who delayed his trip to Dodgertown until this morning. During batting practice, Anderson nearly halved Hershiser with a liner back to the mound. "You'd have caught it if it was a game, right?" someone said. Replied Hershiser: "No, I'd have caught it if I was signed." . . . Mike Marshall came into camp at 230 pounds, at least 10 pounds more than his playing weight last season, but he looked just as trim. "I may be filling out a little bit," he said. "My upper body is a little bigger." To stay in shape this winter, Marshall said, he swam, rode a bike, played tennis and paddle tennis--and ice-skated at the Culver City rink. "It's easy on the knees, good for the lower back and as a cardiovascular exercise, it's great," he said. "I had to get my knee in shape. It feels great. It feels 100% when I'm swinging the bat." . . . X-rays on the little finger of pitcher Steve Howe's left hand showed a chip fracture on the tip, but officials said the injury would not affect his participation in workouts.

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