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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

Oh, Brother: It's a Guerrero Get-Together

May 10, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

Dodger rookie second baseman Wilton Guerrero and his brother Vladimir, the Expos' rookie right fielder, were in a game on opposite teams for the first time Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Dodger Manager Bill Russell said Wilton, who had hit in seven of the last eight games in which he's batted, has made good progress, switching from shortstop to second.

"We're very pleased with him learning a new position in the majors," Russell said. "He's gone beyond our expectations to this point."

Wilton Guerrero has five triples this season, tying him for the league lead with Deion Sanders of the Cincinnati Reds. Willie Davis set the L.A. Dodger record with 16 triples in 1970.

Vladimir, who came off the 15-day disabled list May 2 after fracturing a bone in his left foot on March 30, was playing in his fifth major league game.

Expo Manager Felipe Alou says that Guerrero, who has five hits in 16 at-bats with five runs, has a bright future.

"He's still hurting a little bit," Alou said. "He's only played five games, but he loaded with talent. If he gets healthy and stays healthy , he's going to be a great player for a long, long time."

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Outfielder Billy Ashley, perhaps the Dodgers' worst defensive player last season, has committed only one error going into Friday night's game against the Expos.

"He's worked hard and he's improved," Russell said. "You never know when the opportunity arises, but you have to be ready. Believe me, he came out early every day and he worked on his defense and he worked on his offense.

"When Brett [Butler] went down for a few weeks, Ashley has gotten an opportunity. We all feel he deserves a shot to play out there and we like what we see. If he makes consistent contact, he's going to be tough."

"Have I gotten better? I think so," Ashley said of his defense. "I came out early the past couple of days. When I was on the bench and in spring training, I'd come out early and do my work."

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Catcher Mike Piazza, who threw out only 17% of the runners who tried to steal on him last season, had thrown out five of his last 10 runners going into Friday night's game.

"He's worked hard on his mechanics of throwing," Russell said. "He's always had a strong arm, but the main thing is the pitchers are working hard to keep the runners close and Mike has worked with Mike [Scioscia, Dodger catching coach]."

Scioscia said Piazza worked on his arm.

"It's a combination of things why we're controlling the running game better," Scioscia said. "Mike's throwing the ball very well, much more consistently, and our pitchers are controlling the jumps and the middle infielders are getting to the bags and making good quick tags. That's something we focused on all spring."

Piazza said he worked on it in spring training.

"It's something we worked on as a team," Piazza said. "It's just a matter of paying more attention to holding guys on. I don't think it's anything I've done. Obviously, I've thrown a little bit better, but it's something we worked on."

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Expo first baseman David Segui left the game in the bottom of the second inning because of tendinitis in his left knee.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

TONIGHT'S GAME

DODGERS' CHAN HO PARK (2-1, 2.48 ERA) vs. EXPOS' JIM BULLINGER (2-4, 8.49 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m.

TV--Fox West Sports 2. Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330).

Update--The Dodgers are 3-1 in Park's four starts this season, but 3-4 in his seven appearances. Park won his second consecutive start in his last outing, giving up two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. The Expos are one of the best hitting teams in the National League. They rank second with 44 home runs, four behind the Colorado Rockies, first in doubles (78) and second in runs. Bullinger is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 12 games against the Dodgers.

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