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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

Panic Is Not in Their Vocabulary

May 21, 1997|BOB NIGHTENGALE

The Dodgers know better than anyone that they are underachieving. Yet, they also realize that the calendar says it is May 21, and there still are 120 games remaining.

"People who want to make wholesale changes," first baseman Eric Karros said, "should definitely stick to playing rotisserie baseball.

"There's not anything to panic about. We haven't played the way we're capable of playing, and we're only a game out. Big deal. We're not worrying about it.

"I'd rather be playing in September and October than playing well in May."

Said Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president: "We're at the one-quarter pole, there's no reason to concede anything to anybody."

*

Center fielder Todd Hollandsworth's bruised left knee improved Tuesday, but he still is expected to sit out the entire Padre series. The Dodgers are hopeful he'll be able to return on Friday against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium.

"It still pretty stiff," said Hollandsworth, who was wearing an elastic brace, "but a lot of the swelling is out."

The injury occurred Monday when Hollandsworth and Eric Anthony collided in left-center trying to chase down a hit by Montreal Expo outfielder Rondell White.

"I'm still not sure what I got hit by," Hollandsworth said, "whether it was his knee or what. We were both going full bore with good speed. Something had to give.

"It could have been worse."

*

Padre starting pitcher Andy Ashby, who just signed a three-year, $15-million contract extension, was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a right elbow strain. Ashby is the 11th Padre to go on the disabled list this season.

"I've never seen anything like it," Padre hitting coach Merv Rettenmund said. "They're going so fast, I don't even know who's on the DL anymore. I can't even make hitting groups up."

*

Dodger shortstop Greg Gagne ended his streak of six consecutive strikeouts when he grounded out in the first inning. Gagne began the night in a miserable slump, batting only .140 [eight for 57] in his last 15 games. . . . Karros also ended a dubious streak in the first inning when he batted with Mike Piazza on first base. It ended a streak of 16 at-bats by Karros without a runner on base. . . . Reliever Darren Dreifort, who's on the 15-day disabled list with elbow tendinitis, threw for 15 minutes on the side without any pain.

TONIGHT'S GAME

DODGERS' CHAN HO PARK (2-2, 2.63 ERA) vs. PADRES' TIM WORRELL (2-5, 5.53 ERA)

Qual Com Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

TV--Fox West Sports 2.

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

* UPDATE: Dodger first baseman Eric Karros, who has twice as many stolen bases (four) this month as runs batted in (two), thrives on coming back to his hometown. He has a .288 batting average with a .492 slugging percentage at San Diego before Tuesday night's game, hitting six homers. It has been a strange month for the Dodgers, who began the night with five losses in their last eight games. Starting pitchers, who have flourished, have only two victories since May 7, and closer Todd Worrell has pitched only twice in the last eight games. The Dodgers have hit 20 consecutive home runs with no more than one runner on base. The last three-run homer was April 18 by Mike Piazza against the Astros. They have not hit a grand slam. The Dodgers had walked only four times and struck out 31 times in the last four games before Wednesday. In the last week, Padre starting pitcher Tim Worrell, the younger brother of Todd broke his left hand punching a wall, was ejected after two innings in Montreal, and lasted only two innings in his last start against the Chicago Cubs. He has a 11.42 earned-run average in his last three starts. Worrell, who won a starting job in the spring, is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 games against the Dodgers. He has limited Karros to a .182 batting average. But Piazza has batted .625 against him with a 1.500 slugging percentage.

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