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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT

Guerrero Will Not Appeal Suspension

June 03, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

HOUSTON — Jeff Moorad, agent for Dodger second baseman Wilton Guerrero, thinks Guerrero's eight-game suspension for using a corked bat is too severe.

Chris Sabo of the Cincinnati Reds was suspended for seven games and fined $25,000 last August after he used a corked bat.

Albert Belle, then with the Cleveland Indians, was suspended for 10 days by the American League in 1994 for using a corked bat. However, the league later reduced Bell's suspension to six games over seven days.

Moorad had planned to appeal, but decided against it.

"The truth is, the genesis of the appeal was the severity of the suspension," Moorad said. "The facts are not in dispute, but we felt the term of the suspension was overreaching. Albert Belle and Chris Sabo were suspended for seven games.

"But on reflection, Wilton and everyone involved came to the conclusion that it made sense to begin serving the suspension immediately."

The suspension could taint Guerrero's bid to become the sixth consecutive Dodger to be voted Rookie of the Year. Guerrero, who leads the NL in triples with six and has raised his batting average from .250 to .290 in the last 30 games after getting 18 hits in 57 at-bats.

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Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, doesn't think Guerrero will use a corked bat again.

"I was shocked to see what transpired," Claire said. "I was shocked and disappointed. We would never ever want to see anything like this happen again. My hope is that Wilton will use this as a learning experience."

Claire said he was uncertain if the Dodgers would pay Guerrero's fine. The Reds paid Sabo's fine last year.

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The Dodgers optioned Eddie Williams to Albuquerque to make room for Brett Butler after Monday's loss to the Astros.

Williams, whose contract was purchased from Albuquerque on May 6, had one hit in seven pinch-hit at-bats, getting a two-out, ninth-inning, game-winning single in a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Expos on May 10.

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Dodger Manager Bill Russell gave catcher Mike Piazza Monday off, starting Tom Prince in his place.

Prince, who hadn't played in eight games, was hitless in three at-bats. Piazza was batting .452 with a home run, three doubles, five RBIs and eight runs in his last nine games.

"I [was horrible] at the plate tonight," Prince said.

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Dodger reliever Darren Dreifort, placed on the disabled list May 14 with an elbow injury, threw a two-inning simulated game before Monday night's game against the Astros.

TONIGHT'S GAME

DODGERS' PEDRO ASTACIO (3-4, 3.00 ERA) vs. ASTROS' DARRYL KILE 6-2, 2.14 ERA)

* Astrodome--10:30 a.m.

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

* UPDATE: Outfielder Brett Butler will return today after missing 24 games because of a shoulder injury. Butler was hitting a team-high .356 before he was placed on the disabled list May 7. The Dodgers are 10-14 without Butler and 17-13 with him. The Dodgers are 3-7 in Astacio's 10 starts this season. He has allowed three or fewer runs in eight of his 10 starts. Craig Biggio extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games in Monday's 2-0 victory over the Dodgers. Astro starter Donnie Wall registered nine strikeouts and gave up two runs and six hits in seven inning Monday. The Dodgers have lost four of their first five games on the six-game trip and have lost three of four games to Houston this season. Kile won five of six starts in May, posting a 5-0 record with a 1.20 ERA. Kile, who registered a career-high 12 strikeouts in a 4-3 win over the Dodgers last June at Dodger Stadium, gave up one run on seven hits in a 2-1 win over the Dodgers on April 19 at Dodger Stadium.

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