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Gibson Spreads His Gospel in Book

June 12, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

Kirk Gibson, whose dramatic ninth-inning home run in the first game of the 1988 World Series propelled the Dodgers to their most recent World Series title, held a press conference before the game to promote his new book, "Bottom of the Ninth."

"I wrote the book because I think there's a good message there that people can latch on to," Gibson said. "I want people to ask themselves, 'What's their World Series, and they can beat this thing called the beast.

"I think if I can help one person, it would be worth it to me."

The Dodgers could use a fiery leader like Gibson.

"Those guys just come around once in a while," Dodger Manager Bill Russell said. "He was a very intense guy. He's the only one I know like that."

Gibson thinks the temper tantrums thrown by pitchers Ismael Valdes and Pedro Astacio last week might unify the Dodgers.

"I think it's a sign that they have to come together," said Gibson, who once exploded after his Dodger teammates played a prank on him during spring training. "They have to realize that this can be a positive."


Billy Ashley, scheduled to make his 20th start of the season in left field, was a last-minute scratch because of a stiff neck and lower back.

Roger Cedeno started in place of Ashley.

Shortstop Greg Gagne, originally slated to bat eighth, batted seventh in place of Ashley, and Cedeno batted eighth.


Catcher Mike Piazza, who has started all but seven of the Dodgers' first 62 games this season, is looking forward to serving as the designated hitter when the Dodgers begin interleague play tonight against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum.

"I wish I could do it once a week here," said Piazza, who started all but four games last season. "You've got to have a certain mentality to do it."

Said Russell: "Most managers rotate catchers, but we don't. It will give us an opportunity to keep his bat in the lineup."


Reliever Darren Dreifort, who has missed 28 games because of an elbow injury, will make another rehabilitation start in five days for the Albuquerque Dukes.

Dreifort, put on the 15-day disabled list May 14 because of tendinitis in his right elbow, gave up one hit and registered two strikeouts in three innings Tuesday night in his first rehabilitation start for the Dukes.


Opponent--Oakland Athletics, two games.

Site--Oakland Coliseum.

Tonight--7 p.m.

TV--KTLA, tonight, Friday.

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

Records--Dodgers 31-32 Athletics 26-39.

Record vs. Athletics--First regular-season meeting.


* Update--The Dodgers open interleague play against the Athletics, the first time the teams have met since the 1988 World Series. Ramon Martinez is the only remaining Dodger from the 1988 World Series championship team. Nomo, who is tied for third in the National League with 85 strikeouts, has struck out seven or more batters in four of his last five starts and in eight of his 12 starts. Mark McGwire is among the American League leaders in home runs (24), RBIs (50) and total bases (145). Pedro Astacio will be making his first start since he pitched a fit in last Sunday's 9-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Raul Mondesi hit a three-run first-inning home run in Wednesday night's game against the Houston Astros to extend his hitting streak to six games. Dodger catcher Mike Piazza extended his hitting streak to five with a leadoff double in the fifth inning Wednesday. The Athletics' starting pitchers have only 10 wins, the fewest in the major leagues. The Athletics, at 13 games under .500, have the third-worst home record in the majors.

Friday 7 p.m.--Pedro Astacio (3-5, 3.51 ERA) vs. Steve Karsay 1-7, 5.66 ERA).

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