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Mondesi Sliding Technique Questioned

June 05, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

Raul Mondesi may be the Dodgers' most aggressive player, but Manager Bill Russell would prefer that he use more caution when running the basepaths.

Mondesi suffered a sprain of his left shoulder and pinky finger while sliding headfirst into third base during Monday's 2-0 loss at Houston, and Russell thinks Mondesi, the team leader with 10 stolen bases, should slide feet first.

"We always try to teach our guys not to do that [slide headfirst], because you're taking a chance [getting hurt], plus you're slower," Russell said. "Raul has done it his entire career. He knows what the consequences are."


Although Giant outfielder Barry Bonds, a three-time National League MVP, has been down on himself, proclaiming that he shouldn't be in the lineup because he's playing poorly, Dodger catcher Mike Piazza thinks Bonds, who is batting .256 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs, is being too hard on himself.

"I'll take him," Piazza said of Bonds, who has hit only .176 in his last five games. "If you try to put pressure on yourself, you can't perform."

Bonds, who gave reporters a profanity-laden tirade about his mediocre start earlier this week, declined an interview request before Wednesday's game.

"I don't want to talk about it no more," Bonds said. "I'm trying to clear my mind."

Bonds cleared his mind by clearing his wallet, going shopping before the game.


With Todd Hollandsworth returning to left field after Brett Butler was activated, Russell has decided to stop platooning Billy Ashley and Eric Anthony in left.

"I don't want to platoon, but if we face a left-hander that is pretty tough, then we'll dress Ashley," Russell said.


Second baseman Jeff Kent, the Giants' leader in home runs (11) and RBIs (48), departed after he was hit by a pitch on the left wrist with one out in the fourth inning.

Kent was taken to Centinela Hospital Medical Center for precautionary X-rays.


For the record: A recent Dodger game story reported that Greg Gagne leads the team in errors; Todd Zeile has committed the most errors among Dodgers.



(2-3, 4.11)

Dodger Stadium--7 p.m.

TV--Channel 5. Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330).

* Update--Valdes has been given very little support this season. He has given up 15 earned runs in his last nine starts, and the Dodgers have scored only 20 runs. Brett Butler, who had one hit in five at-bats in Tuesday's 4-3, 10-inning loss at Houston, singled in a run with two out in the second inning of Wednesday's game against the Giants. VanLandingham had a no-hitter for seven innings against the Dodgers last July before Raul Mondesi led off the eighth inning with a single.

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