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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Dreifort Is Calmly Effective in Victory

March 06, 1994|MARYANN HUDSON

Rookie Darren Dreifort said he wasn't nervous when he took the mound in his first major league game, against the Florida Marlins at Melbourne, Fla., on Saturday.

"It was just another day," he said.

Dreifort pitched two hitless innings in the Dodgers' 6-5 victory. He entered the game in the fourth inning, gave up back-to-back walks with one out and got out of the jam on a double play. In the fifth, he retired the side in order and got the victory.

"It's still early, but you have to be impressed with what he is throwing," catcher Mike Piazza said. "His most effective pitch is going to be his sinker. You think you are going to tee it off and it sinks about six inches. Guys come up to the plate thinking they are going to intimidate him, and it's the opposite."

*

Ramon Martinez, who was late in reporting to spring training while working on a new windup in the Dominican Republic, faltered in his first spring start against the Marlins. Pitching with a 3-0 lead, Martinez gave up four runs, three walks and four hits, including a home run by Nigel Wilson, in three innings. He left the game with the score tied.

Martinez now brings his hands over and behind his head in his windup. "With my new windup, I am not going to be wild like I was last year, but I will work on it throughout the spring and be ready to go by the season," Martinez said. "It will be OK."

After going 37-19 during his first two full seasons, Martinez has since fallen to 18-23. Since the All-Star break in 1991, Martinez is 23-33 with an earned-run average of more than 4.00. He has lost speed off his fastball, and he still has not developed a good curveball. "I gave up on my curveball--I kept working on it and was getting no results," he said. "Now I have more of a slider that I worked on this winter. So that's one of the reasons I wanted to stay, to work on these things (in a game situation)."

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