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Hansen Is a Hit With Cubs


The Dodgers, on the constant lookout for bench help, could do nothing but swallow hard while watching Chicago Cub third baseman Dave Hansen.

Hansen, who spent the last 11 years in the Dodger organization, was not offered a contract after batting .221 in his limited pinch-hitting role last year.

The Cubs offered him a non-roster contract, guaranteeing $250,000, and suddenly, Hansen again has emerged as the one of the top left-handed pinch-hitters in the league. He is batting .385, and with the exception of backup catcher Tom Prince, has more hits than the entire Dodger bench, which is batting .137.

"It's odd being here as a visiting player," Hansen said, "but it's been nice. I've gone from one first-class organization to another.

"It was a shock to be told I wasn't coming back, but that was the business part of it.

"Who knows, I'll be a free agent again at the end of the year, if they want to talk, I'll listen.

"But believe me, these guys have made me feel great over here."


Center fielder Brett Butler sat out his third consecutive game because of tendinitis in his left shoulder and is not expected to return before Monday.

"They just want to make sure we get this right before I get out there again," Butler said. "If this were September, I'd be out there. "

The Dodgers still are hopeful that Butler won't have to be placed on the disabled list, but if he is, they are expected to choose between Eddie Williams and Eric Anthony of triple-A Albuquerque.

Outfielder Karim Garcia has 10 home runs at Albuquerque, but the Dodgers are hesitant to call him up because they don't want him sitting on the bench.


Al Campanis, the former Dodger general manager who recently was in critical condition, was able to attend a game on the last Dodger home stand.

"It was great to see him," said former manager Tom Lasorda, who hopes Campanis will be healthy enough to attend his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in August.


Prince has bounced around pro baseball for the last 13 years, but now he has found a home, and the Dodgers couldn't be more grateful.

Prince became the extra-inning hero for the second time this season when he won Friday night's game with a sacrifice fly. He is hitting a respectable .250, and already had four RBIs in 20 at-bats--the best ratio on the team.

"He's a better hitter now than he's ever been in his life, hands down," said Fred Claire, executive vice president. "He's perfectly suited for that role.

"He is just a true professional. He has a pure joy of playing the game. A lot of players don't understand that until they're done playing the game."


How rare is it for the Dodgers to yield seven runs and still win a game, as they did Friday in an 8-7 victory over the Cubs?

The last time it occurred at Dodger Stadium was Aug. 12, 1995, in an 11-10, 11-inning victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.




Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m.

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

* Update--The Cubs bring back good memories for Park. He won his first major league game last season against them when he pitched four scoreless innings in relief of Ramon Martinez. Park has shut down right fielder Sammy Sosa and leadoff hitter Brian McRae in their early meetings. McRae is one for eight (.125) with a walk against Park; Sosa is one for seven (.143) with three strikeouts. Call it the curse of the Cubs, but Dodger third baseman Todd Zeile has struggled against Chicago since leaving as a free agent at the end of the 1995 season. He is batting .115 with one homer and one RBI in 26 at-bats. Trachsel has pitched well against the Dodgers despite a 1-3 record--he has a 3.15 ERA. He pitched a six-hit shutout last June at Dodger Stadium, and had a 1.57 ERA against L.A. in three starts last year. Mike Piazza, Eric Karros and Raul Mondesi have one homer in 57 at-bats off him. Don't be surprised if you don't see Cub closer Mel Rojas today. The Dodgers have his number. He has a 7.11 ERA the last two years against the Dodgers. On the other hand, Dodger closer Todd Worrell absolutely thrives facing the Cubs. He has had more success against the Cubs than any team in baseball, yielding a 1.62 ERA with 27 saves.

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