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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

It's Early, but They Already Hate Interleague Schedule

May 16, 1997|BOB NIGHTENGALE

The Dodgers said they likely would vote against interleague play in 1998 unless the format is changed.

"I can see us not voting for interleague play next year," pitcher Todd Worrell said. "I'm in favor of getting rid of it.

"The travel is tough enough without all of these two-game series. We already have four more trips than we did before. Believe me, it wears on you. You move through time zones like Buck Rogers."

The Dodgers are in the middle of a trip that opened with two games in Chicago, continues with two games in Cincinnati, three games in Montreal and three in San Diego.

"These two-game series stink," first baseman Eric Karros said. "It's more a nuisance than anything. It just wears on you.

"If we keep having interleague play, I can't imagine it won't be modified in some respects with all of these two-game series. It has to either be modified or eliminated."

The Dodgers have 14 two-game series during the first half of the season, and 23 during the season. The Dodgers had only eight two-game series last year.

"This whole thing is strange," third baseman Todd Zeile said. "It's like we're playing a bunch of make-up games, or like you're in the NBA without any off days.

"It takes its toll, especially on West Coast teams, playing in three different time zones in 10 days. It's like you never get a chance to get anything out of your suitcase before you leave again.

"They've got to get this thing ironed out."

The Major League Players Assn. must approve interleague play before it is scheduled in 1998. Yet, if the schedule resembles anything like this year's, the Dodgers and other teams are convinced it will not be approved.

"It's terrible," Chicago Cub outfielder Brian McRae said. "The Dodgers aren't the only ones against it. Everyone you talk to is against this stuff.

"I don't see it happening next year unless changes are made."

*

Dodger center fielder Brett Butler, who has torn cartilage in his left shoulder, again postponed taking batting practice and now plans to hit in Montreal during the weekend.

"There really isn't a rush to hit," Butler said. "They key is if I can throw. I believe there's going to be pain, but how much is the question."

*

Ramon Martinez misses facing his brother by one day this time, pitching Monday against the Expos after Pedro Martinez pitches Sunday.

"If we have a chance to pitch against each other again," Ramon Martinez said, "I wouldn't mind it."

Said Pedro Martinez: "No, I'm glad we're not facing each other. I don't want to go through that again."

*

Karros' infield single in the eighth inning Wednesday against the Cubs was his first hit with a runner in scoring position since April 22, ending a streak of 17 at-bats without a hit in that situation. . . . Reliever Antonio Osuna needed only 14 pitches to retire the five batters he faced in Wednesday's victory over the Cubs. The most impressive aspect of Osuna's performance, said pitching coach Dave Wallace, was striking out Scott Servais without throwing a fastball--two curves and a forkball. "That's the first time I've ever seen him do that," Wallace said. . . . The Reds put Jackie Robinson's No. 42 on the outfield wall Thursday. Chuck Harmon, the first African American to play for the Reds on April 17, 1954, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

TODAY'S GAME

DODGERS' CHAN HO PARK (2-1, 2.00 ERA) VS. MIKE MORGAN (0-4, 6.54 ERA)

Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, 4:30 PDT.

TV--Channel 5. Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330).

* Update: The Dodgers have tormented Red pitcher Mike Morgan since he left the organization. Morgan has not defeated the Dodgers since Sept. 2, 1992 at Wrigley Field, when he was pitching for the Cubs. Morgan is 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA in eight starts against the Dodgers and has lost his last seven starts overall. The Reds have lost five consecutive games and eight of their last 10, leaving Manager Ray Knight on the hot seat. The Reds are shopping most of their players and have talked to the Blue Jays about trading outfielder Reggie Sanders for infielder Shawn Green and pitching help. Chan Ho Park has emerged as a big surprise in the Dodger rotation. Park holding batters to a .169 average, lowest in the major leagues. Park, who has had control problems in the past, has walked only nine batters in 36 innings. He went 18 1/3 innings this season before his first walk. Closer Todd Worrell, who has 12 saves this season, ranks 15th on the all-time list. He needs five saves to tie Sparky Lyle, 19 more to move into the top 10 ahead of Dave Righetti.

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