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Russell Says Murray Was the Right Guy

September 21, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER

With the game on the line in the ninth inning Saturday afternoon, and left-handed hitters Brett Butler, Nelson Liriano and Wayne Kirby on the bench, Dodger Manager Bill Russell called on Eddie Murray to face Colorado right-hander Jerry Dipoto.

The 41-year-old Murray, a 21-year veteran, grounded into a double play on a check swing to end the game.

Against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, Murray came up with one out in the 10th inning and the bases loaded and grounded into a double play. The Giants went on to win in the 12th.

But Russell isn't about to second-guess his decision to use Murray Saturday.

"Eddie is our best hitter in that situation," Russell said. "You're talking about a Hall of Famer. He's been in these situations many times. You know you could get a ground ball and a double play, but that's not what we sent him up there for.

"He's a big-time swinger and, if the situation comes up again, Eddie is our best left-handed hitter."


Shortstop Greg Gagne, hit on the left arm by the Colorado Rockies' Pedro Astacio Friday night in the series opener, was unable to use the arm to swing a bat Saturday. He has a bruised tendon, but hopes to be able to return today.

Russell said he had planned to start Gagne despite the fact that he is hitless in his last 19 at-bats and has struck out in 13 of 27 at-bats.

Instead, Russell was forced to start Juan Castro.

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