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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

Karros Is Hurting but Not Whining

May 11, 1997|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Dodger first baseman Eric Karros refuses to make excuses.

But the biggest reason for Karros' poor start is his health.

Karros is suffering from tendinitis in his left shoulder that has stripped him of much of his power the first six weeks of the season. Opposing pitchers have capitalized by consistently throwing inside.

Karros is batting .228 with two homers and 12 runs batted in.

"The pitchers don't have anything to do with where I'm at right now," said Karros, who went 0 for 4 and grounded into a first-inning double play. "That's just the way it is right now."

Yet, Karros won't talk about his shoulder injury, believing it's wrong for anyone to offer excuses if he is capable of being in the lineup.

"I've been through a lot worse than I've been now," Karros said. "Who knows, I may be hot right now. I mean, I might be hitting .180 by the end of the May. But we're winning games, so I'm not concerned."

Karros, who has averaged 33 homers and 108 RBIs the last two years, has not been the same hitter because of his tender shoulder. He has been one of the best clutch hitters in the league the last two years, but is hitting only .167 with runners in scoring position this season, stranding 59 runners--41 in scoring position.

Karros, however, refuses to take his frustrations onto the field, and had yet to make an error in 300 chances entering Saturday's game.

"If anything," Karros said, "what you don't want to do is starting worrying about your hitting and take it into the field with you. I've probably played as good a defense now as any time in my career."

*

Rookie outfielder Karim Garcia of triple-A Albuquerque, who is tearing up the Pacific Coast League with 11 homers and 26 RBIs, was told to remain patient when he expressed his disappointment about not being called up to the Dodgers this past week.

Bob Bry, Garcia's agent, telephoned Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, to find out why Garcia was not called up. Bry was told Billy Ashley has earned a shot at the starting left-field job. And they weren't about to call up Garcia to sit on the bench.

Garcia, 21, considered along with Paul Konerko one of the Dodgers' top prospects, could be given an opportunity if Ashley falters as the everyday left fielder.

*

Center fielder Brett Butler slept Friday night without waking up with a throbbing pain in his left shoulder for the first time in weeks.

He will take batting practice for the first time in a week Tuesday, but does not know when he will be able to test his shoulder. Butler is suffering from torn cartilage in his left shoulder that could end his career.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

TODAY'S GAME

DODGERS' HIDEO NOMO (4-2, 3.07 ERA) VS. EXPOS' CARLOS PEREZ (4-2, 3.92 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m.

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

* Update: The Dodgers hate Perez's antics on the mound. Perez is unafraid to show anyone up, and frequently expresses his emotions. He certainly is as entertaining as anyone in the game, resurrecting memories of his older brother, Pascual. He is 1-1 with a 2.55 earned-run average in three games against the Dodgers. Expo left fielder Henry Rodriguez, perhaps trying too hard against his former teammates, entered Saturday's game hitting .146 against the Dodgers with no RBIs. Nomo has pitched well against the Expos, going 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA. The Dodgers entered Saturday's game with a 14-1 record when scoring more than four runs. Right fielder Raul Mondesi entered Saturday's game with no strikeouts in his last 30 plate appearances, and only three strikeouts in his last 71.

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