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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

Russell Says Valdes Will Turn It Around

June 25, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

Manager Bill Russell said he hasn't lost confidence in Ismael Valdes, who, at 3-8, has already lost more games than he did last season.

"He's only 23. When you think of maturity, you think of someone older," Russell said of tonight's starting pitcher. "He has a good arm and he has good stuff. He's going to turn it around. We're going to keep putting him out there.

"He's kind of been in a pattern, where one bad pitch or one bad inning snowballs. I don't know if he's pitching scared. He knows what the catcher calls for. He knows what the situation calls for, but sometimes you just can't get it there.

"If you lose your aggressiveness, you just can't perform."

*

Reliever Mike Harkey, whose contract was purchased from Albuquerque on Monday after the Dodgers put Ramon Martinez on the disabled list, was happy to return to Southern California.

Harkey, who grew up in Pomona and pitched at Cal State Fullerton, has played for the Angels, Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics in his seven-year major league career.

"I'm happy to be anywhere in the big leagues," said Harkey, who pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief Tuesday night against the Rockies. "I'm more happy here."

"I was always a Dodger fan even though I grew up closer to Anaheim," said Harkey, who becomes the Dodgers' only African American player. "It's a much bigger thrill to be with the Dodgers. I'll be the long guy, the short guy or whatever. It doesn't matter to me."

TONIGHT'S GAME

DODGERS' ISMAEL VALDES (3-8, 3.47 ERA) vs. ROCKIES' JOHN BURKE (2-1, 5.90 ERA

Dodger Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

TV--Fox Sports West 2. Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330).

* Update--Valdes gave up four runs on three home runs in his last start, when the Dodgers blew a 7-0 lead against San Francisco before winning, 11-7, in 10 innings. Valdes has lost his last three decisions and eight of 14 starts this season. He lost seven of 33 starts last season. Burke has a two-game winning streak as a starter, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins. He gave up two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts in his last start.

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