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Piazza Asks to Take the Afternoon Off


Catcher Mike Piazza was told that he would get plenty of rest this season. Instead, he has played in all but three games. He missed one game because of his grandmother's funeral and another because of his bruised elbow. And he started in 17 of the Dodgers' last 18 games.

Piazza says he needs a breather, and today he will be given the day off.

"There's no question I want to be in there," Piazza said, "but I'm pretty banged up right now. I feel like I came into the season in good shape, but catching puts such a wear and tear on your body. I needed an off day."

Piazza also hopes the day of rest will get help rejuvenate him at the plate.

"I've been swinging at too many bad pitches, I know that," Piazza said. "They know that. Everybody knows that. And I've been missing pitches I usually hit.

"I think I'm just trying to do too much."


Outfielder Wayne Kirby, saying he has no future in the organization, reached an agreement with the Dodgers that will permit him to play for another team.

The Dodgers will put him on outright waivers today, allowing all major league clubs to claim him until Tuesday morning.

Major league teams will be required to pick up the remainder of Kirby's $425,000 salary if they claim him. If he is not claimed, Kirby will have the option of accepting an assignment to triple-A Albuquerque and retaining his salary or becoming a free agent and forfeiting his pay.


Center fielder Brett Butler felt pain when he threw lightly for the first time in two weeks, but it was not nearly as severe as he anticipated.

Butler, who has torn cartilage in his left shoulder, threw lightly from about 50 feet for 12 minutes. He will continue the routine for several weeks to determine whether it's possible for him to play again.


Reliever Darren Dreifort pitched off the mound for the first time since May 11 after being found to have elbow tendinitis. He had no pain or discomfort, and is expected to come off the disabled list in time for their next trip on May 29 to St. Louis and Houston.



San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium--2 p.m.

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

* UPDATE--This is the final game of the Dodgers' four-city, 10-game trip. Things become even more difficult with a five-game home stand against the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins. The Dodgers began Wednesday having lost five consecutive games to the Padres, dating to last year, and had scored only three runs in the last 26 innings against the Padres. The Dodgers need production from catcher Mike Piazza and first baseman Eric Karros, who have combined for five RBIs since May 2. Joey Hamilton, who just came off the disabled list, is 3-1 with a 3.07 earned-run average against the Dodgers. Karros is hitting only .136 (three for 22 with six strikeouts) against Hamilton, and Raul Mondesi is hitting .238 (five for 21). This is why the Dodgers may want to rethink giving Piazza the day off today. Although he is scheduled to be off for only the second time this month, he is hitting .400 (10 for 25) against Hamilton with two homers. Hideo Nomo, who has sued Tony Gwynn's wife, Alicia, for using a likeness of him in a jigsaw puzzle, has struggled against Gwynn. Gwynn is hitting .364 (four for 11) off Nomo with a .636 slugging percentage. Nomo failed to beat the Padres in two starts last year, going 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA.

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