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Butler Needs to Be Smarter

June 28, 1997|ROSS NEWHAN

Brett Butler said his latest physical setback left him "beyond frustration."

Butler emerged with a stiff neck and right shoulder on a failed attempt to make a diving catch of Tony Gwynn's slicing line drive Thursday night.

Gwynn circled the bases with an inside-the-park grand slam as Roger Cedeno came from center field to retrieve the ball in the left-field corner and the stunned Butler lay face down on the grass in left.

Butler visited a chiropractor Friday to relieve some of the tightness and received treatment in the trainer's room. He is considered day to day, but he did nothing more Friday than shag balls during batting practice.

The latest injury comes after Butler earlier sat out 24 games because of a tear in his left shoulder.

Although still adjusting to left field on nights when Cedeno plays center, Butler said his attempt to catch Gwynn's shot was embarrassing.

"I've got to be a little smarter," he said. "I thought the ball was going to carry more, but I missed it by five feet. I just misread it, and now I've got another setback."


Gwynn and the Achilles' tendon that was repaired in surgery last winter were put to a test by his 360-foot sprint.

Once he got halfway to third and saw that Cedeno hadn't reached the ball yet, "I said to myself I'm going."

He jumped up after sliding home and pumped his fist in a rare emotional display.

"I kind of said, 'Yeah, I made it,' " Gwynn said. "It wasn't the slam or the home run. I was just kind of relieved. Coming around third I was worried that I might fall down and break my neck."



HIDEO NOMO (7-6, 3.69 ERA) vs. PETE SMITH (1-1, 5.14 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m.

TV--Channel 11.

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

* Update--Nomo is coming off a 5-3 victory over Colorado in which he went eight innings, giving up five hits and three runs. He is third in the National League with 119 strikeouts and fifth in holding opponents to a .217 batting average. Smith will be making his 137th major league start but first since May 13, 1995, when he was with Cincinnati. He has made 17 relief appearances since joining the Padres from triple-A Las Vegas on May 17.

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