VERO BEACH, Fla. — Dodger Vice President Al Campanis, his daily rundown on available center fielders having reached an uncomfortable lull, started philosophizing.
"Please remember that we're at a time of the year when everybody's at a conjecture stage," Campanis said after the Dodgers' 4-0 exhibition loss to Boston Thursday. "Just because we're talking to somebody doesn't mean a trade will happen."
That said, Campanis resumed talking about his latest interests and talks:
--Campanis said he talked to Mike Port, the Angels' vice president, Wednesday night about a possible trade. Campanis said no names were mentioned, but the Dodgers obviously want Angel center fielder Gary Pettis.
"He said we're going to talk again at the (Freeway) Series," Campanis said. "He said he was going to look at his club some more before we talk about players. . . . We don't know whether he's available. I want to find out."
Early Thursday morning, Campanis was asked by a reporter if the Dodgers had a good chance of acquiring Pettis, an excellent defensive outfielder. His response: "I don't think so. (Port) might not want to do it with us."
--A Cleveland Indians scout met with Campanis Thursday. The Dodgers are interested in center fielder Brett Butler, and the Indians have asked about several Dodgers, including pitchers Alejandro Pena and Tom Niedenfuer.
Campanis said he plans to talk with Joe Klein, the Indians' general manager, soon. "An emissary of his talked to me today, and (the scout) is going to tell (Klein) we talked."
One prospective deal you can stop talking about is Pena for Gary Redus. The Philadelphia Phillies traded Redus to the Chicago White Sox Thursday for pitcher Joe Cowley.
Bill Giles, the Phillies' general manager, was quoted as saying his choice was between Cowley and Pena. Giles said he was concerned about Pena's arm. Pena is trying to bounce back from 1985 shoulder surgery.
Two days ago, Campanis was in Clearwater, Fla., to scout Redus. He came away and said he would wait.
When told of the Phillies' trade, Campanis said: "Good. They must have realized that we weren't going to make the trade."
The Dodgers have sent catcher Gilberto Reyes and outfielder Ralph Bryant to their Triple-A team in Albuquerque. That leaves the Dodgers with 26 players on the major league roster, plus two non-roster players, center fielder Mike Ramsey and infielder Brad Wellman. Meanwhile, Jose Gonzalez, 22, Campanis' center-field hope for several springs now, is once again on the verge of losing his bid for a spot on the roster.
In anticipation of sending Gonzalez to Albuquerque, the Dodgers already have put him through waivers, enabling them to move him to Albuquerque outright. That means that they can send him to the minors and recall him whenever they wish.
Based strictly on spring performance, Gonzalez has not proved himself a major-league hitter.
He is hitting .217 in 14 spring games, with 7 runs batted in, and only a recent hot streak has boosted his average that high. In the last week, Gonzalez has hit two solo home runs, which apparently delayed the club's decision to send him to Albuquerque immediately.
Still, other outfielders in the organization have emerged. Mike Ramsey has proven to be the organization's best defensive center fielder. Consistent Reggie Williams is hitting .478 and seems a sure thing as a reserve outfielder. And there is Landreaux, who is hitting .314 this spring and leads the club with 9 RBIs.
Dodger Notes Because Ralph Bryant was optioned to Albuquerque, Len Matuszek is assured of a roster spot, Manager Tom Lasorda said. "He'll be our No. 1 pinch-hitter from the left side," Lasorda said. "I don't see anyone else doing his job." Matuszek is a good fielding first-baseman and can play the outfield, if necessary. . . . Infielder Dave Anderson has missed more than a week with a painful disk in his back, a recurring injury that last bothered him in 1985. Pat Screnar, the Dodgers' physical therapist, said that Anderson's condition is improving. "It'll be a few more days before he's back," Screnar said. . . . Red Sox outfielder Dwight Evans and Manager John McNamara were ejected in the third inning of Thursday's game by plate umpire Tom Hallion. Evans apparently was tossed for making a disparaging remark to Hallion, and McNamara for making a subsequent speech.
Pitcher Jerry Reuss explained how he suffered minor injuries to his neck, back and elbow during a minor league game Tuesday. "It was Tarp 1, Reuss 0," Reuss said. "I reached over the tarp (behind third base), backing up a wild throw and just fell on the tarp and hit the fence," Reuss said. "I didn't feel bad until I woke up the next day. My neck and back are still sore today." . . . Once again, third baseman Bill Madlock missed the game because of soreness in his shoulder, and right fielder Mike Marshall missed it because of the flu. Charlie Strasser, the Dodgers' assistant trainer, said Marshall should return to action soon.
Attention, big league scouts for teams other than the Phillies: Alejandro Pena's next start for the Dodgers will be Saturday against Houston at Kissimmee, Fla. . . . . Rick Honeycutt is scheduled to pitch today against the Atlanta Braves at West Palm Beach, Fla. . . . . An agent for the FBI, Chris Mattiace, spoke to Dodger players Thursday morning about drug use, illegal wagering and sports bribery.