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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

Shoulder Injury Frustrates Butler

May 06, 1997|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Dodger center fielder Brett Butler, who has missed the last five games with tendinitis in his left shoulder, will be examined today to determine whether arthroscopic surgery will be necessary.

Butler, whose shoulder has not improved since he last played April 30, was examined Monday by Dr. Frank Jobe. He scheduled a magnetic resonance imaging test today to determine if there is any torn cartilage or damage to Butler's rotator cuff.

"We'll have to make a decision here soon," said Butler, who is hitting a team-leading .360. "We'll see if there's anything in there and what can be done about it. I'm frustrated about the whole thing. It's refreshing it's a baseball injury, but I'm still frustrated by it.

"I worked so hard to come back [from cancer], and then a nit-picky thing like this--my throwing arm--you kidding me?"

Butler originally felt pain in his shoulder April 26 when he threw out Bobby Bonilla at the plate against the Florida Marlins. He sat out the next game, but continued to play until Wednesday when the pain refuses to subside. He thought hit was improving Saturday, and was scheduled to throw in the outfield before Monday's game, but the shoulder regressed.

"I don't know if I irritated it or not," Butler said, "but it's come back. It feels like a toothache. I can hit. I can run. But I just can't throw."

The Dodgers will wait until Dr. Jobe's diagnosis today until making a decision on Butler. If the Dodgers decide to put Butler on the DL, they are expected to call up Eric Anthony or Karim Garcia from triple-A Albuquerque.

"We wanted to give him some days off and watch it one a daily basis," said Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president. "But when Brett says he's hurt, you know he's hurting. He just doesn't ask for days off."

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The Dodgers sent infielder Chip Hale to Albuquerque and purchased the contract of infielder Eddie Williams.

Williams could provide much needed help for the Dodgers' ailing bench. Williams was hitting .361 with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs in Albuquerque. Hale was batting only .083 for the Dodgers.

"Chip is struggling," Dodger Manager Bill Russell said. "You just don't forget how to hit. He just needs to get more at-bats. Eddie Williams will give us some extra-base power."

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The Dodgers might be more inclined to put Butler on the disabled list after second baseman Wilton Guerrero suffered a strained left shoulder in the third inning.

Guerrero was batting in the third inning when he swung and hit a grounder toward third baseman Willie Greene. Guerrero went down in pain and couldn't move from the batter's box. He gingerly walked back to the bench and was removed from the game in place of Juan Castro.

The Dodgers listed Guerrero as day to day, and he is not expected to be able to bat right handed for several days.

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Catcher Mike Piazza came to the ballpark with a sore right thumb after being spiked in the seventh inning Sunday by Brian McRae of the Chicago Cubs, but he insisted on playing.

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