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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Despite Rumors, Tapani Stunned

August 02, 1995|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Kevin Tapani awoke Tuesday morning, headed to the Metrodome in Minneapolis where he has worked the last six years, started to clean out his locker, then began to cry.

"There has been so much talk of me being traded, I guess I should have been prepared," said Tapani, who along with left-handed reliever Mark Guthrie were traded Monday night from the Minnesota Twins to the Dodgers. "Still, when you finally get the word, it's still a shock."

Tapani, who earns $3.6 million, has no plans to uproot his family and purchase a home in Los Angeles. He's in the final year of his contract, and knows it's quite possible he may wind up as a rent-a-player for the pennant stretch.

"I really don't know anything about the Dodgers, to tell you the truth," said Tapani, who pitched at least 220 innings for three consecutive seasons until last year's strike. "But the best thing is I'm in a pennant race again. It's been a long time [1991] since I had that feeling. That's the best part, but still, I'm leaving behind a lot of good friends and a lot of great memories."

Tapani is scheduled to start tonight.

*

Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, confirmed that the team's first choice was to acquire left-handed starter Jeff Fassero of the Montreal Expos, but the asking price was too steep.

The Expos wanted Ismael Valdes, and when told he was unavailable, were interested in a package of players including starter Pedro Astacio, triple-A outfielder Karim Garcia and third baseman Dave Hansen.

The Dodgers also made inquiries Monday afternoon in an attempt to acquire left-handed starter David Wells of the Detroit Tigers, but Tiger General Manager Joe Klein said he already had a deal in the works with Cincinnati.

Interestingly, if starter Willie Banks had been effective last Friday night against Atlanta instead of yielding seven hits and four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, Claire said he probably would not have traded for a starter.

"If he went out there and threw eight great innings," Claire said, "it might have been different. But we weren't seeing the command we wanted to see at this point. And now it's August."

Claire, who designated Banks for assignment, said he'll attempt to trade Banks within 10 days.

*

Second baseman Delino DeShields informed Manager Tom Lasorda in a private meeting Tuesday that he's healthy and ready to play.

There was only one problem. The Dodgers are not ready for DeShields. Lasorda, after a meeting with his coaching staff, decided to stick with rookie Chad Fonville.

"I'm not giving up on Delino or anything like that," Lasorda said, "but we've been playing pretty good ball with the combination we've got, and I didn't want to break that up."

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