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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : Ashley Is Injured Before His Promotion

April 21, 1996|BOB NIGHTENGALE

The Dodgers, who were considering giving the everyday left-field job to Billy Ashley, instead may have to turn again to Todd Hollandsworth.

Ashley strained his right hamstring in the first inning on Terry Pendleton's single to left field and was forced to leave the game. The Dodgers say his status is day-to-day, but he likely will be out until at least Tuesday.

"It was just a freak thing," Ashley said. "It seems like things that happen to me are all freak."

The timing is rotten for Ashley because Manager Tom Lasorda summoned Hollandsworth earlier in the day to express his disappointment in his play. The rookie is batting only .182 with one extra-base hit, but more puzzling, has committed a rash of mental blunders. He forgot how many outs there were in Chicago and then was caught stealing in the third inning Friday when the Dodgers were trying to sacrifice, snuffing a rally.

"We've been talking about a lot of things, and that's one of them," Lasorda said, when asked if Hollandsworth would be benched. "He's struggling right now, that's for sure."

Said Hollandsworth, who is now expected to receive a reprieve with Ashley's status in doubt: "I've just got to start relaxing. Once I get relaxed, I'll get locked in, but that's not happening right now. I need to be patient.

"There's no doubt in my mind I can do it. I just need to relax and build my confidence back up."

*

Second baseman Delino DeShields moved into a tie for the league lead with his third triple of the season in the third inning. He also has stolen seven bases without being caught, ranking second behind Brian McRae of the Chicago Cubs.

How much would it mean to DeShields to win the stolen-base title?

"It's nothing I'm shooting for," he said, "but if it comes, fine. I'd much rather be in a World Series or All-Star game.

"The thing is, I see guys running all the time when they shouldn't be running. When you're up by three or four runs, that's not a quality bag.

"But no matter who wins it, I know I'm one of the best base-stealers in the league."

*

Brett Butler, 38, is one of only 10 other players this century to have opened the season in center field at the age of 38 or older.

Only twice in history has a club won a pennant with a center fielder at least that old--Dummy Hoy for the 1901 Chicago White Sox and Doc Cramer of the 1945 Detroit Tigers.

"That's kind of scary, isn't it?" Butler cracked. "It's a good thing Fred [Claire, executive vice president] didn't know that when he signed me."

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