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Hubbard Will Do What's Needed

May 09, 1998|JASON REID

Trenidad Hubbard understands why his opportunities are limited, and the reserve outfielder accepts that his role may change often.

But that hasn't discouraged him.

Hubbard remains upbeat and confident, and he is determined to contribute whether he plays or not. There are many ways to help a team, Hubbard said.

"It's not only about playing every day," he said. "You can contribute by just being there to encourage guys when things aren't going well, and by always being prepared to play.

"You never know when you're going to get called on, or when something could happen to change how much you play. So as long as you're prepared, you're already helping."

Hubbard started in left field for the third time Friday night in the Dodgers' 12-6 loss to the Florida Marlins, going hitless in three at-bats.

His fifth-inning leadoff home run Thursday was the Dodgers' first run in their 4-3 comeback victory in the series opener.

"That's why he made our team out of spring training, because we thought he would be able to help improve our bench," Manager Bill Russell said. "We're still trying to get our offense going consistently, and we're looking to get guys in there who are swinging hot bats."

Hubbard has been a valuable reserve.

He has also started nine times in center field, and was the opening-day starter in center March 31 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He is batting .267 (12 for 45) with three homers and five RBIs.

With Roger Cedeno back from his injury and starting in center, Hubbard is sharing left with left-handed batters Todd Hollandsworth and Matt Luke. Hubbard, who bats right-handed, starts primarily against left-handers and has been used as a late-inning defensive replacement.

"Everyone wants to play a lot, that's only natural," Hubbard said. "But winning is the most important thing to me, and sometimes you have to sacrifice to do that."


With catcher Mike Piazza taking the day off, Russell moved Raul Mondesi from fifth to third in the batting order.

Mondesi occupied that spot in the beginning of last season, batting .250 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in 16 games. He returned to the fifth spot because he was considered too undisciplined to bat third.

"Mondy is doing a good job in the fifth hole," Russell said. "Maybe Mondy will be up there some day, but this is the way it's going to be for now."


Right-hander Brad Clontz, who relieved starter Chan Ho Park in the Marlins' six-run fifth inning, has struggled on the trip.

He was charged with three runs in only one-third of an inning, giving up three hits with two walks.

Opponents were batting .023 (one for 44) against him before the trip--and .500 (five for 10) since it began. His ERA has increased from 0.00 to 4.96, and is 17.63 in the previous four games.



Pro Player Stadium, 4 p.m. PDT

TV--Channel 5. Radio--AM 1150, KWKW (1330).

Update--Nomo has made three consecutive strong starts, going 1-2 with a 2.63 ERA. He has struck out 21 and walked eight in 24 innings. "He's been outstanding," pitching coach Glenn Gregson said. "He's been getting ahead on the first pitch, which is a very good sign."

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