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Dodger Notebook : Campanis Returns but Still Has No Answer to the Center-Field Question

March 26, 1987|SAM McMANIS | Times Staff Writer

TAMPA, Fla. — With only a week remaining in spring training, the Dodgers' center-field situation apparently is no closer to being resolved than it was in February. But then, the Dodgers have been looking--unsuccessfully--for three years, on and off, for a suitable replacement for Ken Landreaux.

Al Campanis, the Dodger vice president, rejoined the club here Wednesday after spending Tuesday in Clearwater, Fla., scouting Gary Redus, the Philadelphia Phillies' center fielder.

Campanis reported no progress in trade talks. The Phillies, interested in Dodger pitcher Alejandro Pena, have been offering Redus, whose performance Tuesday apparently did not persuade Campanis to make the deal.

"Yeah, but they still want to see Pena again," Campanis said before the Dodgers' 5-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. "They aren't certain, either."

Pena's spring performance--an 0.69 earned-run average in four appearances--has drawn interest from several other teams, Campanis reported.

"I'm very happy with Pena, too," Campanis said. "He's pitched well."

Earlier in the spring, Campanis said he hoped to have the center-field problem settled by this time. He is saying now that there is no rush.

"We're still on hold and in limbo on this thing," Campanis said. "We may not do anything. That could happen. (Non-roster player Mike) Ramsey is doing a tremendous job defensively in the outfield. And if he can hit . . .

"We may not be able to make a deal in the next 10 days (before the season starts)."

Campanis said other teams are interested in a trade. Toronto has long been rumored to be offering outfielder Lloyd Moseby for a host of Dodgers.

Orel Hershiser and Rick Honeycutt are among the Dodgers who reportedly interest the Blue Jays, but Campanis says he will not trade one of his established starting pitchers.

"We'd never do that," he said. "There are no talks there. The last time I talked to them was very briefly in Hollywood (Fla., at the winter meetings)."

During the off-season, Cleveland and the Dodgers talked about a trade involving Indian center fielder Brett Butler. But Campanis said he hasn't talked to Joe Klein, the Indians' general manager, for several weeks.

"We may have to give him a call again, because we're still interested," Campanis said. "(Klein) said we'd talk again down the road, and now we're getting to the road."

Bucky Woy, agent for free-agent infielder Bob Horner, said Wednesday he will have Horner in uniform by Friday and that he plans to make contract proposals to several teams, including the Dodgers and the Angels.

Campanis said he has no interest in Horner, the oft-injured former Atlanta Brave first-baseman, but that he will return Woy's call and allow the agent to make his proposal.

"I'll just tell him we have no interest," Campanis said. "I know he's called. I know he's interested in having Horner with us. But he's a first baseman. We're not interested."

The Dodgers announced Wednesday that pitcher Jerry Reuss bruised his back and elbow and came away with a stiff neck when he fell while backing up third base Tuesday in a game between Dodger farm teams at Vero Beach, Fla.

According to the Dodgers, Reuss, 37, continued to pitch after falling in the first inning. He gave up four runs and nine hits in seven innings. But he felt soreness when he awoke Wednesday morning.

Charlie Strasser, the Dodgers' assistant trainer, said Reuss was backing up third base and jumped to catch a high throw. Reuss apparently fell between the tarp and fence and hit his elbow on a pole.

If Reuss' condition does not improve, the Dodgers could put him on the disabled list. That would conveniently ease the club's pitching congestion. Reuss, Pena and Tim Leary have been battling for the fifth starting spot. And Reuss' stock, to use Campanis' words, has been low this spring.

Strasser said Reuss went through his normal workout in Vero Beach Wednesday. Reuss is expected to pitch Monday when the Dodgers play the Boston Red Sox in Winter Haven.

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