Barry Lyons, who began the season as the third Dodger catcher, will sign a triple-A contract with the Angels today, sources confirmed. Lyons, who batted nine times without a hit as a Dodger, became a free agent last week when he refused to report to triple-A Albuquerque upon his demotion May 30.
Sources say he has been promised a recall from triple-A Edmonton by September 1. He will also make close to the $220,000 salary he lost when he refused the Dodgers' minor league assignment. "Barry took a big chance by going out on his own, but he really believes in his ability," said Jim Turner, Lyons' agent, who would not confirm the signing.
Stan Javier, who will team with Chris Gwynn to replace Darryl Strawberry in right field while Strawberry is on the disabled list, is uniquely qualified for the role. In 1989, he appeared in 78 of the Oakland Athletics' first 88 games as a replacement for injured Jose Canseco. He batted .251 during that time and ended the season as one of the most valuable reserves for the World Series champions.
"I didn't try to be another Canseco, and I will not try to be another Strawberry," said Javier, who started Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs. "I have learned that I just go out there and play my game--get base hits, play good defense, steal a few bases--and the team will be no worse when Strawberry gets back."
Javier entered the game batting .200 in 75 at-bats; Gwynn was hitting .240 in 50 at-bats. But last season, with increased playing time, Javier batted .304 for the Dodgers and Gwynn hit .284, including .358 as a starter. Normally Javier, a switch-hitter who bats better right-handed, will only play against left-handed pitchers. Since Bob Scanlan, a right-hander, started for the Cubs Tuesday, Gwynn was surprised their roles were reversed.
"This will be a chance to show why guys like Stan and I are on the team, so I hope I get to play," said Gwynn, who has helped the Dodgers to a 7-2 record when he has started. Javier, however, was just being rewarded Tuesday for collecting two big hits in the Dodgers' 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh last week. Said Javier: "I think we have proven that this team can win without Strawberry."