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Good Things May Come in Pairs for Dodgers

March 19, 1992|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In Dominican right-hander Ramon Martinez, the Dodgers know they have one of the most gifted young pitchers in the major leagues.

Last season, the 23-year-old hard thrower won 17 games, lost 13 and had a 3.27 earned run average. In 1990, he led the team in victories with 20 and the major leagues in complete games with 12. He ranked seventh in the National League in ERA (2.92), second in winning percentage (77%) and tied for second in strikeouts with 223.

Now the Dodgers believe that Ramon's younger brother, Pedro, also could be with the club soon--if not this year.

Pedro, 5 feet 11 and 150 pounds, was the Sporting News' minor league player of the year last season after going a combined 18-8 with a 2.29 ERA for the Dodger farm teams in Class A Bakersfield, double-A San Antonio and triple-A Albuquerque.

Many in the Dodger organization predict a bright future for Pedro, 20, who they say is more advanced at this stage of his career than Ramon was. Pedro is in spring training at Vero Beach, Fla., where the club is giving him a close look, but Dodger General Manager Fred Claire wants to proceed cautiously with the valuable prospect.

"The one thing you want to do with a young pitcher is you want to give him every chance to be ready for the big club," Claire said. "He's on our 40-man roster. He has all the pitches and very good presence on the mound, but he still needs experience. He has tremendous promise."

The brothers are products of the Las Palmas baseball academy operated by the Dodgers outside Santo Domingo. In an interview there for Nuestro Tiempo two years ago, Pedro said that one of his dreams was to pitch in the majors alongside Ramon.

With the Dodgers scrambling for a fifth starter, Pedro could head west with the club when it breaks camp early in April. But if not, his wish almost certainly would become reality in September, when the major league teams expand their rosters from 24 to 40 players.

Southland sports fans eager for information about their favorite teams or just hoping to express their opinions can now tune to "Deporte Total," a new Spanish-language nightly sports-talk radio show presented on Orange County-based KPLS (830 AM).

Jorge Ramos, the station's sports director and one of the talk-show hosts, said the program went on the air Jan. 13. It airs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and features in-studio or phone interviews, news, commentary, sports debates among the hosts and calls from listeners. The station also broadcasts Laker home games, boxing from the Forum twice a month and soccer matches from Mexico, Spain and Italy on Saturday and Sunday.

The Uruguayan-born Ramos, 39, is one of seven hosts on the show and the play-by-play man on Laker games. The others include Mexicans Samuel Jacobo, Hesikueo Estrada and Mario Solis, Salvadoran Carlos Belis, Colombian Mauricio Cardenas, and Uruguayan Alvaro Riet, who handles the basketball color commentary.

Ramos said the station will not broadcast major league baseball games this year but plans to keep its audience well-informed about the season, particularly because there are many Latinos in the sport.

"We won't do play-by-play partly because the Dodger and Angel games already are aired on other stations and partly because all those games would disturb the station's programming too much," said Ramos, who was sports director and anchor at the Univision television affiliate in Chicago, Channel 44, before joining KPLS. "But we most definitely will have interviews and complete reports on all the games."

Radio America, based in Los Angeles, is owned jointly by Danny Villanueva Sr. and his sons, Danny and Jim Villanueva. Villanueva Sr. is the former Rams place-kicker who was general manager at KMEX-TV.

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