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Dodger Notebook : Pena Passes First Serious Test--With Just a Little Pain

March 12, 1986|BILL SHIRLEY | Times Staff Writer

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Alejandro Pena gave his troublesome right shoulder its first serious test of spring training Tuesday, and it appeared to all who watched him that he had passed.

While the Dodgers' A team was beating the Cincinnati Reds in a 10-inning exhibition game at Tampa, 8-2, Pena threw 29 pitches in a B game against the Chicago White Sox here at Dodgertown.

Artistically, Pena's performance was forgettable. He pitched two innings, allowed two runs on two hits, struck out two batters and walked one. The good news, though, was that Pena said he felt pretty good. He got the side out in order in the second inning on 11 pitches.

"I liked what I saw," Dodger Vice President Al Campanis said. "He looked good. He threw a good changeup and an 87-m.p.h. fastball. If he had any pain we haven't heard about it."

Pena said: "I felt a little pain, but it didn't bother me. I can pitch with it."

He said he threw his changeup often for strikes.

Pena, 26, had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder on Feb. 19, 1985, and missed virtually all of last season. He pitched only 4 innings in two games and didn't make his first start until Sept. 13. On Oct. 4 he lost to Cincinnati, giving up four runs and five hits in two innings of relief pitching. He hadn't given the shoulder another serious test until Tuesday.

Pena's trouble started late in the 1984 season when the sore right shoulder limited him to one appearance after Aug. 4. There is no name for Pena's injury, said Dr. Frank Jobe, the orthopedic surgeon who operated on him. "There were signs that his shoulder was wearing out."

Still, Pena finished the 1984 season with a 12-6 record and was the National League's earned-run champion with a 2.48 ERA. So, the Dodgers are happy to see a pitcher with that skill alive and apparently well again.

Pena, surprisingly, became a starting pitcher in 1983 after being returned to Albuquerque late in the 1982 season. As a starter he won 12, lost 9 and had an earned-run average of 2.75. He has a lot more pitches to throw this winter and spring before he will get another shot at the starting rotation.

Pedro Guerrero, who went 0 for 5 in his first two exhibition games, also played in the B game and hit a home run over the center-field screen at Holman Stadium. Nobody here could remember anyone ever hitting a ball over the screen, which is 410 feet from home plate. The ball sailed about 450 feet.

For a while, the Dodger A team could have used Guerrero's power at Tampa. Through the first eight innings, the Dodgers got only one hit off three Cincinnati pitchers, a single by Mike Scioscia in the first inning.

But, trailing 2-1 in the ninth, they tied the score on Mariano Duncan's infield hit and a double by Enos Cabell. Then in the 10th, Terry Whitfield hit a grand-slam home run as they scored six times on six hits. Steve Sax singled in Alex Trevino, who had doubled, with what proved to be the winning run.

The Dodgers, who have won two and lost two in the Grapefruit League, will play the Montreal Expos at West Palm Beach today. Rick Honeycutt is scheduled to start.

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