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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

Butler Gets Good News

May 01, 1997|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Center fielder Brett Butler, fearing the nagging pain in his left shoulder could be a return of cancer, instead was relieved Wednesday to discover that it was a case of tendinitis.

Butler was examined by the Phillies' team physician and was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication.

"It's just been real stiff lately," Butler said. "When that happens, all kinds of things run through your mind. I just wanted to make sure."

If Butler's shoulder worsens, the Dodgers plan to rest him for two to three days.

Butler certainly has now shown few ill effects from the shoulder injury. Butler produced three more hits and reached base four times Wednesday in the Dodgers' 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, and is now hitting a team-high .360.

"I guess it's just old age," Butler said, 39, laughing.

*

Pitcher Ismael Valdes, scheduled to start today against the Phillies, complained Wednesday of lower abdomen pains and was scratched from his start. He was diagnosed with an infection and immediately began taking anti-inflammatory medication.

Pedro Astacio [2-0, 2.79 ERA] instead will start today on three days' rest, moving Ramon Martinez up to Friday on three days' rest. Valdes is scheduled for Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

"I felt it after the last outing," said Valdes, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings last Saturday against the Florida Marlins. "I threw in the bullpen, and it just felt worse and worse. Today, I thought I better tell the trainers."

*

Manager Bill Russell, simply trying to be a good guy, nearly wound up watching his act of hospitality blow up in his face Wednesday.

The Dodgers, clinging to a 4-3 lead when they went to bat in the ninth, had closer Todd Worrell warming up in the bullpen to bring in for the save. Instead, the Dodgers produced three consecutive hits, including a two-run double by Mike Piazza, and suddenly had a 7-3 lead.

Just like that, Worrell's save situation had vanished.

Russell immediately had Worrell sit down and told Tom Candiotti to start warming up. Candiotti, a converted starter, barely had time to throw more than a couple of pitches when he found himself in the game.

Candiotti struggled, and before the Dodgers knew it, the Phillies scored a run, and with two outs, had two runners aboard and the tying run at the plate.

Russell called upon Worrell, who gave up a bouncer up the middle by Mickey Morandini for another run, cutting the Dodgers' lead to 7-5. Rico Brogna then hit a bullet down the line, but it was snagged by first baseman Eric Karros, averting disaster.

"I'm just glad we got it done," Worrell said, shaking his head. "I wound up warming up during three of their pitching changes, one of ours, and a rally.

"Every time I step on the mound, we seem to rally. Maybe I should warm up at the start of the game."

*

Russell, realizing that his bullpen has been taxed the last two weeks, said he will begin leaving his starters in a little longer until the Dodgers get a day off May 8. . . . Dodger owner Peter O'Malley made a rare trip to Veterans Stadium to watch the team. It also provided him a chance to see his son, who attends the University of Pennsylvania.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

TONIGHT'S GAME

DODGERS' PEDRO ASTACIO (2-0, 2.79 ERA) VS. PHILLIES' CURT SCHILLING (3-2, 3.80 ERA)

Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, 10 a.m. PDT

Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330)

* Update--The Dodgers were hoping they'd miss the guy, but just their luck, they'll be facing longtime nemesis Curt Schilling. Schilling made them look bad in the season opener at Dodger Stadium when he yielded two infield hits and struck out 11 in eight innings. The only batter to hit the ball out of the infield was third baseman Todd Zeile. The Dodgers, recognizing that their offense has been stagnant, have stolen seven bases in their last three games. They stole a major league-low six bases in their first 22 games. The Dodgers have scored only 88 runs--13 in their last two games. The only team to have scored fewer is the St. Louis Cardinals, who have 86. No Dodger loves Philadelphia more than catcher Mike Piazza, who grew up in nearby Norristown, Pa. Piazza is batting .402 (33 for 82) with seven homers and 25 RBIs at Veterans Stadium.

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