VERO BEACH, Fla. — Tuesday's Dodger flap, caused by the tardiness of Pedro Guerrero and Mariano Duncan for an exhibition game in Plant City, Fla., may have generated another problem for Fred Claire, the team's executive vice president.
Steve Greenberg, agent for disgruntled third base candidate Jeff Hamilton, has arrived in town and is expected to seek a trade for his client.
Hamilton's chances of winning the third base job ended when Guerrero agreed to move there from first base. Hamilton, unhappy with his situation all along, said Wednesday that he was particularly angry at having been pulled from Tuesday's game against Cincinnati in the sixth inning, when Guerrero finally arrived.
According to the Dodgers, Guerrero was late because he had been attending Duncan, who had awakened with a migraine.
Asked if he plans to seek a trade, Hamilton said: "I don't want to spill the beans too soon. I'm sure something will come up about that in the next few days. I've been told that I can't say what I want right now. But when the dam breaks, I'll let it out. You can only be a nice guy for so long."
Greenberg, who represents several Dodgers, had planned to visit Dodgertown all along, but Tuesday's incident apparently will give him and Claire something to talk about.
"Some of the stuff that happened (Tuesday in Plant City) shouldn't go unnoticed," said Hamilton, who singled and drove in a run against the Reds before being replaced by Guerrero. "What happened when they replaced me, it's like 10 guys out there choosing up sides for a game and I'm the 10th guy picked." Hamilton, hitting .333 in 16 games, has said that he will seek a trade if he is sent down to triple A for a third straight season.
"It's either going to be one way or the other," he said. "I've got to start my career sometime."
Meanwhile, players and management said that the Guerrero situation had been talked out in a series of meetings.
"(Guerrero and Duncan) just told us the story," Dave Anderson, the Dodgers' player representative, said. "They did not apologize. That's it. It's pretty much all over with. It's not up to us. What are we going to say, they're lying?"
Claire, who had not talked with either Guererro or Duncan Tuesday, met with Guerrero Wednesday, then reiterated that Guerrero would not be fined or reprimanded.
"Again, I can't fault Pete for showing concern for a friend," Claire said. "But, on the other hand, that's not the way it should work. (Management has) to assume the responsibility for taking care of (ill or injured) players.
"At an ideal situation, you don't have one player staying behind and addressing the needs of the other player. But this was a set of circumstances that was different.
"I think my conversation with Pete and (Manager) Tommy (Lasorda) was a good one. I just wanted to review it with him so that if there are any like situations (in the future), we all know the steps as to how we should handle it."
After another strong pitching effort by rookie William Brennan, who apparently has moved ahead of Brian Holton and Tim Crews in the competition for the 10th spot on the Dodgers' pitching staff, pitching coach Ron Perranoski was asked what he liked about Brennan.
"He looks good in the lobby," Perranoski quipped.
"He gets people out."
Brennan was getting them out Wednesday, when he pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the Dodgers' 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros.
Brennan, who walked one and allowed a hit, now has given up four earned runs in 11 innings. His 3.24 earned-run average is significantly better than Holton's 6.00 and Crews' 6.55.
Perranoski said that Shawn Hillegas, a starter in the minor leagues, also will be considered for the middle relief spot, but Brennan still seems to be the leading candidate.
"He's certainly opened eyes," Perranoski said. "He's maturing and taking charge when he gets in trouble, instead of pitching defensively. He's just got to keep pitching the way he is.
"People pitch themselves out of the running. That's why you have to wait until as long as you do. We won't make a decision for a while."
Brennan said he is feeling more confident about his situation.
"I'm pitching well and they're giving me a chance to pitch in good game situations," he said. "That tells me they know I can pitch. But it's not my decision. I can't worry about it. But I can hope."
Both Jay Howell and Dodger trainers said Wednesday that the tenderness in Howell's right forearm is not serious. Howell, who had off-season surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, complained of discomfort after pitching to one batter Tuesday. "I think it's residual stiffness, possibly from recovering from the surgery," Dodger physical therapist Pat Screnar said. "We don't think it's any major concern."