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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT

To Ashley the Batter, It's a Side Issue

May 31, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

Outfielder Billy Ashley doesn't start when the Dodgers face a right-hander but maintains he can hit right-handers.

"I hit right-handers better than I did left-handers [in the minors]," Ashley said. "You don't make it to the major leagues just hitting one side. . . .

"I think reputations are made up by people who don't know what they're talking about. If you have one bad at-bat against a right-hander, some scout will say you can't hit a right-hander, and then it must be true."

Ashley is batting .308 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 39 at-bats against left-handers, .167 with one home run and two RBIs in 24 at-bats against right-handers.

He didn't start in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Cardinals because the Dodgers were facing right-hander Andy Benes.

*

Outfielder Brett Butler, put on the disabled list May 7 because of tendinitis in his left shoulder, was encouraged after throwing from 150 feet for about 20 minutes.

"I still have some pain, but I feel confident that I can go out there and play," Butler said.

Although no date has been set for his return, Butler hopes to come back during the Dodgers' next homestand, beginning Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

TODAY'S GAME

DODGERS' ISMAEL VALDES (3-2, 2.25 ERA) vs. CARDINALS' TODD STOTTLEMYRE 3-3, 4.02 ERA

Busch Stadium, 1 p.m.

TV--Channel 11. Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330).

* Update--Valdes, who has the seventh-best earned-run average in the National League, hasn't gotten much offensive support. The Dodgers have scored only 22 runs in his 10 starts. He has given up only 10 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings in his last eight starts while Dodger batters have scored only 17 runs. Stottlemyre allowed one run in seven innings in a 2-1 loss to the Dodgers on April 23 at Dodger Stadium but wasn't involved in the decision. The Cardinals are 4-7 in his 11 starts but have won four of the last six. He led the Cardinals with 194 strikeouts last season and finished second in wins (14), matching his career best. Cardinal outfielder John Mabry extended his hitting streak to 10 games, one off his career best, with a fifth-inning single Friday.

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