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DODGERS : Frustrated Karros Takes Some Swings at Replacements

March 07, 1995|BOB NIGHTENGALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Dodger first baseman Eric Karros awoke Monday morning, glanced out his bedroom window in Manhattan Beach, and knew that he should start getting ready for batting practice.

He has been working out almost every day since the Christmas holidays with roommate Billy Ashley, but couldn't drive himself to do it Monday.

Instead, he played golf.

"I'd been working out pretty religiously because I thought there was a good chance of this thing getting settled," Karros said. "Now, look at it. What have you got to look forward to? . . .

"You know you've got to stay in shape, but at the same token, you wonder if you're just spinning your wheels."

Karros, who is scheduled to earn $2.35 million in 1995, typified the frustration many Dodger major leaguers are feeling after learning that the baseball talks had broken off.

"I'm disappointed more than anything," said Karros, the National League's 1992 rookie of the year. "I really thought something would get done. But after seeing the owners' counterproposal, I don't think they're that serious."

While Karros and his teammates sit home, the Dodgers are preparing for the use of a replacement team--which won again Monday, 9-1, over the Florida Marlins before 1,465 fans.

Karros can't do anything about the players who chose to be on the replacement team, but he can argue with their reasoning, such as that of former teammate Mike Busch.

"Everybody's got to make their own decision," Karros said. "But for people to say they're playing only because they want to be seen, or to play in front of Tommy (Lasorda), is lying to themselves. They're only in it for the money.

"I don't want to say guys can be bought, but that's what's happening."

Busch, who was on the Dodgers' 40-man roster the last two seasons, contends that he is playing only for the exposure. If any of his former teammates have a complaint, he has yet to hear from them.

"I know I raised a few eyebrows, and I expected a few calls," Busch said. "But I haven't heard from anybody.

"I have absolutely no regrets for what I did. I was a little uncertain at first, but now, I know I made the right decision."

The most awkward aspect of Busch's decision, he said, is going back to his dorm room every day. His roommate is first baseman Dave Staton, who would love to beat out Karros at first base one day, but adamantly refuses to cross the imaginary picket line.

The difference in their views is so extreme, Staton said, that the two have yet to talk about Busch's choice.

"I had no idea he was going to do it," Staton said. "I was shocked. I guess he had his reasons, but he surely hasn't told me."

Dodger Notes

Calvin Griffith, former owner of the Minnesota Twins, on the strike: "The way the Dodgers look, they're probably hoping this thing never gets settled. They're the best team I've seen this spring. If anyone wanted my advice, I'd tell the owners to stick with this thing. If they do, believe me, the players will come crawling back to them."

The Japanese media have been frustrated at the lack of access to pitcher Hideo Nomo. Even pitcher Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese player to make the major leagues--for the San Francisco Giants in 1964--has been thwarted. Murakami, who arrived here to do a story on Nomo for the Japanese baseball weekly, threw batting practice, but said he also was having difficulty getting an interview with Nomo.

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