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BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE AMERICAN LEAGUE

Here's a Deal to Get Dodgers Mo Offense

May 25, 1997|ROSS NEWHAN

This is how bad the Boston Red Sox are going: When Roger Clemens, their former ace, registered his 200th career win in the Toronto Blue Jays' 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night, it was his fifth win of the month, which at that point was two more wins than the Red Sox had registered.

"I'm happy for him. I just wish I had a chance to see it rather than hear about it," said Red Sox third baseman Tim Naehring, meaning he would have preferred that Clemens was still wearing a Boston uniform, which has been a familiar theme among Red Sox players critical of management's decision to let Clemens leave.

The well-chronicled and persistent criticism by Mo Vaughn is said to have left General Manager Dan Duquette willing to trade his first baseman, convinced he will be unable to re-sign Vaughn when his contract expires after the 1998 season.

Fred Claire, the Dodgers' executive vice president, said he has not heard from Duquette, but it's intriguing to speculate.

Vaughn is a premier left-handed slugger who had a better season in 1996 than his most-valuable-player campaign of 1995.

He would shake up a dazed offense and break up the right-handed power imbalance of Raul Mondesi-Mike Piazza-Eric Karros in the middle of the batting order.

Boston is desperate for pitching help, but Tom Candiotti doesn't fit a package that would also have to include Karros, making room for Vaughn and replacing him in the Boston lineup.

The Red Sox already have a knuckleball pitcher in Tim Wakefield. But the Dodgers have a stockpile of pitchers and might be able to persuade the Red Sox to take someone other than a current starter, considering the dents Karros could put in Fenway Park's left-field wall.

A deal? Interesting to contemplate. A choice, perhaps, between Mo, or less.

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The powerful Seattle Mariner offense is being betrayed by an incendiary bullpen that had converted only 10 of 17 save chances through Friday and a rotation that has gaping holes once past Randy Johnson, Jeff Fassero and Jamie Moyer.

Manager Lou Piniella broke Anaheim Stadium's dugout distance records as he booted the Gatorade containers during the final innings of the Angels' 11-9 and 18-3 victories Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Rock bottom," a frustrated Piniella said. "If it doesn't improve we're not going to stand pat. Our whole staff has to improve. You can't be at the bottom of the pile statistically and make any sustained move. We'll get it straightened out. If we don't, it's going to be a long summer."

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Texas Ranger General Manager Doug Melvin says he would have liked to stop the Angels from reacquiring leadoff man Tony Phillips by pulling the trigger himself when Chicago White Sox General Manager Ron Schueler called, but "with all the injuries we have now, we didn't have the depth to make a trade." Ranger leadoff hitters had scored a league-low 18 runs in the team's first 42 games. . . . A note here last week made reference to the surprising number of fights and shouting matches between members of the same teams this year. And that was before Chad Curtis stepped up in weight and exchanged jabs with Kevin Mitchell over the choice of music in the Cleveland Indian clubhouse. Curtis bruised a hand and went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. Mitchell was released Saturday.

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