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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS

Candiotti Puts Team Ahead of Pride

June 11, 1996|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Dodger starter Tom Candiotti, sacrificing pride for the team's welfare, has consented to pitch in long relief in tonight's game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ramon Martinez, weakened by flu, is scheduled to start and pitch three innings, possibly four. Then, Candiotti will make only the 13th relief appearance in his 12-year career.

"Obviously, I'd like to start the game as scheduled," Candiotti said. "But for the better of the team, Ramon has got to do his work. It'll keep everybody pitching without a long layoff.

"The reason I'm doing this is for the team."

The last time Candiotti pitched in relief was July 18, 1994, against the New York Mets when Ismael Valdes left the game in the second inning because of a blister. Candiotti, who was scheduled to start the following day, pitched seven innings of relief in the 7-6, 10-inning victory.

Candiotti will make his next start Sunday against the Atlanta Braves, and Martinez will start Monday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

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The Dodgers have begun calling teams, seeking players to strengthen their bench. Dodger reserves are batting .200, with only four homers and 26 runs-batted in in 360 at-bats.

Yet, Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, said he won't trade for a front-line outfielder or leadoff hitter.

"Where we'll be in August, I can't tell you," Claire said. "But right now I want to give our young players every opportunity."

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Rookie center fielder Roger Cedeno was benched for the third consecutive game in place of Milt Thompson. "I said he was the center fielder of the future," Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said, "I didn't say he was the center fielder of the present. I wanted him to sit and watch for a few days. We'll see how it goes." . . . The last time the Cardinals were at Dodger Stadium, Aug. 10, 1995, the game was forfeited because of baseballs thrown onto the field. This time, they gave away beach towels. . . . Right fielder Raul Mondesi has scored 40 runs while reaching base just 74 times, the highest scoring percentage in the National League.

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