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Butler May Play Left Field if He Returns to Lineup


The Dodgers, in hopes that Brett Butler can return to their lineup, have tentatively planned to move him from center field to left to ease the stress of his injured left shoulder.

Butler, who has torn cartilage in his left shoulder that is not expected to heal without surgery, came early to Riverfront Stadium on Thursday afternoon to take fielding practice in left field. He also took five minutes of batting practice.

Butler said he has not played left field since 1982 and that it might be easier for him to come back as a left fielder instead of his natural center-field position.

"If it heals good enough for me to go back to center field, that's fine," Butler said. "If not, it'll probably be a lot easier for me to flip the ball from left field and do what I can do.

"I took a lot of fly balls in left, so I'm getting the feel of it."

It still remains a longshot that Butler will be able to return this season. Todd Hollandsworth, who has moved from left field to center in Butler's absence, said he'd gladly remain in center.

"I'll play anywhere," Hollandsworth said. "I've played them all before, anyway."

Butler, who went on the disabled list May 7, will test his shoulder for the first time early next week in San Diego.


The original plan of having Billy Ashley as the everyday left fielder in Butler's absence appears to be ending.

Manager Bill Russell started left-handed hitter Eric Anthony for the second time in three days with right-handed Mike Morgan pitching and now is considering a platoon with Anthony and Ashley.

"I'd love to be the guy out there," Anthony said. "I don't want to sit on the bench."

Said Russell: "We'll see what happens. He's got a lot of power and plays defense well."


The Cleveland Indians, whose starting rotation has been the cause of their mediocre play this season, have started to take interest in Dodger knuckleballer Tom Candiotti.

The Indians have talked internally about the possibility of acquiring Candiotti in a trade. Candiotti, in the final year of his two-year, $6-million contract, can reject any trade because he has spent at least 10 years in the major leagues and five years with the Dodgers.

Candiotti probably would approve a trade to Cleveland, his former team, if asked.


For the record: The players' union has already approved interleague play for 1998, not only for this season, as was reported Friday. But John Harrington, chairman of the scheduling committee, said the 1998 schedule cannot be issued until approved by the players' union. Many players have complained about this year's schedule, and the union will recommend fewer two-game series next year.


Joe Amalfitano, Dodger third base coach, missed the game to be with his wife, Kay, who was involved in an car accident in Chicago. She was hospitalized with abrasions and a sprained ankle, the Dodgers said, and is in satisfactory condition. . . . Red Manager Ray Knight, barely clinging to his job, coached third base for the first time. He was angry with his team after players missed seven signs in Thursday night's 3-2 loss to the Dodgers. "We're executing like a bunch of Little Leaguers," Knight said. "It feels like we're 100 games out. I don't even look at the standings anymore."

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