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SPRING TRAINING REPORT / DODGERS

Like Old Times for Nomo, Park

March 05, 1998|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Reporters from Japan resumed their pursuit of pitcher Hideo Nomo, who made his debut here Wednesday, but it wasn't business as usual for Nomo.

He gladly shared the spotlight with New York Met pitcher Masato Yoshii, his friend and former teammate in Japan on the Kintetsu Buffaloes. Chan Ho Park also faced fellow South Korean Jae Weong Seo, so many South Korean reporters attended the game at St. Lucie County Stadium.

"Today was great for all of us," Park said. "It used to be there were no guys from Asia [in the major leagues], and today four guys from Asia pitched in the same game. This was a great feeling."

Because of Nomo and Park, the Dodgers are used to the presence of foreign reporters. But the Mets recently increased their commitment to international scouting and development, and they are still getting used to the fanfare surrounding Yoshii and Seo.

Jay Horwitz, Met media relations director, said the team issued 100 press credentials, about 80 more than usual for spring training games. In a familiar scene, Nomo was chased from the outfield fence to the visitors' clubhouse by about 30 photographers before the game.

Yoshii is battling to make the Met rotation and Seo is expected to open the season in the Class-A Florida State League with Port St. Lucie.

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Nomo wasn't sharp in the Dodgers' 7-6 victory, his first start since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow during the off-season.

Nomo pitched two innings, giving up three runs, two earned, and five hits. He walked one and struck out two.

Park pitched four scoreless innings in relief, giving up three hits and striking out four. He also hit a two-run homer to left field in the fifth against Seo.

"It felt really easy," Park said. "The last one I hit was in high school. That was unbelievable."

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First baseman Eric Karros and outfielder Todd Hollandsworth didn't play for the third consecutive game. Karros has a sore left knee and Hollandsworth a sore left elbow. Trainer Charlie Strasser said Hollandsworth took batting practice and threw Wednesday, and he might play today. Karros might need another day off, Strasser said.

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