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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : Butler Out to Undergo Tonsillectomy

May 01, 1996|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Dodger center fielder Brett Butler, deciding that he not only was putting his health at risk but perhaps jeopardizing the team, decided Tuesday that he will undergo a tonsillectomy that will sideline him for at least 17 days, and perhaps most of May.

Butler, bothered by an inflamed right tonsil the last two months, played Tuesday night and will play again Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies. He will travel to Atlanta on Thursday to have surgery performed Friday by his personal physician, Bob Gadledge, an ear, nose and throat specialist.

He will officially be placed on the disabled list Thursday, and is expected to be replaced on the roster by infielder Mike Busch of triple-A Albuquerque. Chad Fonville will inherit the leadoff spot, and remain in the starting lineup, most likely in center field. Roger Cedeno and Todd Hollandsworth are expected to platoon in left field, although it's possible they could platoon in center and play Fonville in left.

Butler, who will become the fourth Dodger to be placed on the disabled list this season, actually considered having the surgery before the start of spring training. He was diagnosed with tonsillitis five days before spring training, he said, but was told that antibiotics should be able to reduce the swelling and let him postpone surgery until the off-season.

"Probably a good time to do it would have been in spring training," he said, "but they thought antibiotics would take care of it. Well, 2 1/2 months have gone by with six different antibiotics, and it's just gotten worse.

"I'd rather take 17 days now and have this thing taken care of than having it bothering me all season. I can give up 17 days for 4 1/2 months of good baseball. It will also give my [swollen left] hand a chance to heal. I want to play at the level I know I'm capable of playing."

Butler, considered the finest leadoff hitter in the league, entered Tuesday's game in a two-for-19 slump [.105], batting .269 overall this season. Most telling is that he still is without a bunt single, after producing 19 bunt singles last year.

Butler, who has been on the disabled list only once in his career, said he apologized to Dodger President Peter O'Malley for having to go on the DL.

"All I know is that my wife is loving it," Butler joked, "because now I can't talk."

*

The Rockies had a team meeting before the game to openly discuss the call-up of pitcher Mike Farmer, a replacement player last spring. Rocky Manager Don Baylor invited everyone, including Farmer, to openly discuss their feelings. "I just told them to be a man," Baylor said. " 'Say what you have to say. Let him say what he has to say. And let's go play.' . . . It's not like we're talking about Charles Manson." . . . Dodger left-handed reliever Darren Hall underwent surgery to repair the flexor muscle in his right elbow and still is expected to return in three or four months. . . . Infielder Garey Ingram of triple-A Albuquerque, who's on the Dodgers' 40-man roster, will undergo surgery Friday to repair a torn rotator cuff that could sideline him the remainder of the season. . . . Dodger starter Ramon Martinez will pitch a simulated game today before beginning his rehabilitative assignment. He is expected to be activated within two weeks. . . . First baseman Eric Karros returned to the lineup after sitting out the last seven games because of a strained rib cage, but shortstop Greg Gagne was held out of the lineup for the fourth consecutive game because of a strained upper hamstring. Gagne is expected to return by Friday.

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