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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT | DODGERS

Gwynn Gets Back in Batting Cage

July 18, 1996|CHRIS BAKER

San Diego Padre outfielder Tony Gwynn, put on the disabled list July 3 because of an Achilles' tendon injury, took batting practice for the first time in 16 days before Wednesday night's game against the Dodgers.

"Today is the first day that I've swung a bat in 2 1/2 weeks and actually I swung it pretty good," Gwynn said. "Whether you're playing or not, it's tough to keep your timing, but I've played the game long enough to know what I have to do."

What Gwynn doesn't know is when he'll return. He's expected to be in a walking cast for three more weeks and will undergo physical therapy after the cast is removed.

"I was hoping to be back by early August, but even putting a tentative date on it, you get people's hopes up, so I'll wait to see what the doctors say," Gwynn said. "Until I get their OK I'm pretty much at their mercy. Rather than trying to put a time frame on it, you just go about your business every day until they tell you you can start playing."

Gwynn said it's frustrating being sidelined with the Padres in contention for their first NL West title since 1984.

"It's been a long time since we've been this close to first place this late in the season and it's tough because you feel like you can contribute something to the club," Gwynn said. "It's tough living with yourself, but I feel like eventually I'll get back out there."

The Padres are 6-6 since Gwynn went on the disabled list.

"They've played better without me than they have with me," Gwynn said. "We've dealt with injuries all year long and the club has responded. If we can just get healthy we feel like we're going to be right there at the end."

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Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda, recovering from a heart attack, attended his third consecutive game.

"I feel good, I really do," Lasorda said. "I'm getting my strength back now and I'm eating good. I walked two miles today. All the tests that I take every day, they're all proving excellent results. I'm very, very happy about that."

Is it hard for Lasorda, who hopes to return to work during the Dodgers' next home stand, to watch from owner Peter O'Malley's private box?

"Yes, it's very difficult," Lasorda said. "Sometimes I'm a little hesitant about coming down. I'd rather be in action where you're able to do something and feel like you're contributing something."

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Padre catcher John Flaherty extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a two-out single in the second inning. It's the longest current streak in the National League.

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