The Dodgers acquired left-handed reliever Al Osuna from the Houston Astros for minor league pitcher James Daspit on Monday.
"This is a chance to get a pitcher at a position (at which) we didn't have much depth," Dodger Executive Vice President Fred Claire said.
The leading contender to be the sole left-hander in the bullpen had been Gary Wayne, who has a 0.69 earned-run average in 13 spring innings.
Osuna, 28, from Inglewood, started 1993 in the minors and finished the season with the Astros, going 1-1 with a 3.20 earned-run average in 44 major league games. In 12 appearances for Houston this spring, Osuna was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA, with seven walks in 12 innings.
His most effective season was his rookie year, 1991, when he went 7-6 with 12 saves and a 3.42 ERA.
Osuna, who will make $375,000 this season, was expected to arrive in Vero Beach, Fla., this morning in time for the Dodgers' game against the Astros, and Manager Tom Lasorda said Osuna might pitch against his old club.
In 1991, Osuna was involved in an exchange with Darryl Strawberry, who took offense to some statements by Osuna. Strawberry then made derogatory remarks about Osuna and promptly saw three of Osuna's pitches whistling past his head in a game on Sept. 12 that year. An at-bat later, Strawberry hit a home run off Osuna to win the game in the 10th inning.
Osuna discounted the incident with Strawberry as "competitive nature."
Daspit, 24, a 6-foot-7 right-hander, was 3-8 with a 4.43 ERA at double-A San Antonio last year.
Mike Piazza hit his eighth home run of the spring in the first inning, a two-run shot against the Yankees' Jim Abbott in the Dodgers' 8-4 exhibition loss at Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. . . . Right fielder Raul Mondesi got his seventh assist of Grapefruit League play when he caught Paul O'Neill taking a big a turn around first base after getting a single. . . . . Kevin Gross struggled again, giving up five runs and seven hits in four innings against New York. In three spring starts, Gross has given up 16 earned runs in 14 innings--a 10.29 ERA. Gross has one scheduled start left this spring, and both Lasorda and Claire suggested they were concerned about Gross' readiness to start the season in the rotation.