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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

Ashley Inherits Left Field Job

May 07, 1997|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Billy Ashley patiently has waited his turn in the organization, and after spending nearly two years on the bench today officially will become the Dodgers' everyday left fielder.

Center fielder Brett Butler, who learned Tuesday he has torn cartilage in his left shoulder, will be out a minimum of one month and is considering retirement.

Butler's departure means Ashley will inherit the left field job and Todd Hollandsworth will move to center.

The Dodgers purchased the contract of outfielder Eric Anthony today to replace Butler on the 25-man roster. They had considered Karim Garcia and Roger Cedeno, but decided to give Ashley an opportunity for the starting job.

"I know that no one has worked any harder," Dodger hitting coach Reggie Smith said. "He hasn't missed a day of early work this year. He can do it."

Ashley, the Dodgers' top pinch-hitter last year, entered Tuesday's game batting .190 with one home run and three runs batted in in only 21 at-bats.

"I never really had a chance," Ashley said. "Hopefully, that time is now. We'll see. But I'm ready."

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Second baseman Wilton Guerrero will be sidelined until at least Friday because of cartilage damage in his left shoulder.

Guerrero will be replaced in the lineup by Juan Castro and Hollandsworth will assume the leadoff duties.

Guerrero, who put on 20 pounds of mostly muscle during the winter, suffered the same injury in spring training when he missed about five days.

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Eddie Williams, who joined the Dodgers on Tuesday after batting .371 with 10 homers and 22 RBIs in 22 games for triple-A Albuquerque, still had trouble believing it was real.

"Would you look at me," Williams said, "I'm a Dodger now. It's a great feeling."

The Dodgers could sorely use Williams. The Dodger bench has batted only .128 this season in pinch-hit opportunities.

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The Reds, who have the second-worst record in baseball, overhauled their roster Tuesday when they designated veteran outfielder Ruben Sierra for assignment, released pitcher Ricky Bones, recalled outfielder Reggie Sanders and recalled shortstop Pokey Reese.

Also, all-star shortstop Barry Larkin will be sidelined until Friday because of a bruised left heel.

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