The Dodgers had an unprecedented third straight home rain-out Thursday, but Manager Tom Lasorda squelched rumors that the club would hold an abbreviated spring training this morning to get back into shape for a game tonight in San Francisco.
"No, I can't tell you how it's going to affect them until they play again," Lasorda said after Thursday's scheduled doubleheader against San Diego was postponed, with no makeup date determined. "But this is unbelievable, losing three games like that."
Actually, the Dodgers didn't lose to the Padres. In fact, they swept the abbreviated series, winning Monday night's game before rain hit Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
But the Dodgers did lose center fielder John Shelby, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of a strained stomach muscle.
Shelby, hitting only .171 at the time of the injury, will be replaced on the roster by Mike Devereaux, who has produced impressive statistics in 14 games for the Dodgers' triple-A club in Albuquerque. Devereaux was hitting .395 with 11 runs batted in, 2 home runs, 3 doubles, a triple and 3 stolen bases.
He will join the team today in San Francisco for the start of the three-game series against the Giants. Lasorda would not say how Devereaux will be used, but Lasorda probably will move Mike Davis from right field to center and use a platoon system involving several players in right.
But if Davis, a natural right fielder, falters in center field, Devereaux could be the starter until Shelby's injury heals.
"I have no specific plans for Devereaux," Lasorda said. "He's a player on the team. I was hoping Davis could play a couple of games (Thursday) in center field and see what he can do." Shelby can't do much for his problem, the result of a checked swing. He received an anti-inflammatory injection Tuesday but is expected to need two weeks to recover.
"I've had a pulled muscle before in my rib cage, but that came from swinging, nothing like this," Shelby said Thursday. "I didn't even swing.
"In a way, I'm happy (to be put on the disabled list). I've played hurt before, but this is early in the season. It'll be better to get treatment and get well, then come back and play healthy, instead of this day-to-day thing and maybe making it worse by playing too soon."
Said Pat Screnar, the Dodgers' physical therapist: "This will give him sufficient time to improve and get better. (Alejandro) Pena had it last year, but he's a pitcher, so it's a different timetable. It's more difficult when you have to swing a bat." Steve Sax, who has a sprained finger, and Kirk Gibson, bothered by a strained hamstring, had both been expected to play Thursday.
Fred Claire, the Dodgers' executive vice president, said that the grounds crew arrived at Dodger Stadium at 5 a.m. to work on the field. Puddles in the outfield were drained with vacuum cleaners with long extension cords, and sand was added to the infield.
But at 3 p.m., about an hour before the scheduled start of the first game, rain started falling. By 4 p.m., the dugout was flooded and the ponds in the outfield had returned.
The Dodgers have not rescheduled any of the three rained-out games. It is likely that they will play consecutive doubleheaders against the Padres in June, then make up the third game later.
Dodger players were getting cabin fever during Thursday's rain delay. Danny Heep rummaged around the trainer's room for props and finally went onto the field wearing flippers, a snorkel and carrying a kick board. . . . Manager Tom Lasorda said the Dodgers would not make up one or more of the games against the Padres on Monday, a day off for both teams, because of a league rule prohibiting teams from playing more than 19 straight games.