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DODGERS REPORT

It's a Little Ugly for Brown, but He Battles for the Win

April 28, 1999|JASON REID

Pitcher Kevin Brown's mettle is known throughout the game, and the Dodger ace battled through a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night at County Stadium.

Brown (2-1) struggled with his control in 6 2/3 innings, wrenched his back while fielding a ball in the seventh and was predictably disappointed with his work afterward.

"It was good, bad and ugly," Brown said of his performance. "I made some bad pitches, but I battled when I had to.

"I just wish I could have made the game easier on myself and everyone else."

Manager Davey Johnson went to the mound three times in the seventh. He was accompanied by trainer Charlie Strasser the first time because Brown turned awkwardly while fielding a sacrifice bunt by Fernando Vina.

Johnson returned to the mound after Brown walked the next batter, Marquis Grissom, on four pitches. Brown persuaded Johnson to leave him in, and Brown got Jeff Cirillo to fly out for the second out.

Johnson came out again, Pedro Borbon relieved Brown and he struck out Jeromy Burnitz to end the inning.

"His feet were going every which way [when Brown fielded the bunt], he had me scared to death," Johnson said. "But he told me he was going to be OK."

That's typically Brown's response whenever he's approached in those types of situations.

*

Johnson said he will continue to tinker with the lineup until the Dodger offense produces consistently.

"Mondy knows what I think of his ability," said Johnson, who switched Raul Mondesi and Eric Karros at cleanup and fifth in the batting order before Tuesday's game. "I didn't put him in the four hole because he's good looking. He's got all of the tools.

"I just think Mondy is pressing a little bit right now, and Karros has been pretty good. We'll try a little bit of a change for a few days and see how it goes."

*

The Brewers selected Gary Sheffield with the sixth overall pick in the 1986 draft, and the Dodger left fielder was making his first appearance at County Stadium since parting on bad terms with the Brewers in 1992.

Fans booed Sheffield before each of his at-bats Tuesday, and were at their loudest after he singled in the sixth.

"I had some good times here, I can say that about this city," Sheffield said. "Unfortunately, things didn't work out with the organization, but time has passed."

*

Third baseman Adrian Beltre was removed in the ninth inning because of a strained right knee. Beltre is listed as day to day. . . . Burnitz's homer against Brown in the first inning marked the fifth homer Brown had given up in 29 innings to that point this season. The right-hander gave up only eight homers in 257 innings last season.

*

Florida lawmakers voted Tuesday to try to make sure the Dodgers don't leave Vero Beach as their spring training site after more than half a century.

The Florida Senate unanimously voted to send to Gov. Jeb Bush a bill setting aside $7.5 million to help Vero Beach buy the Dodgers' training facility, fix it up and lease it back to the team. The House had already passed the measure.

TODAY

DODGERS' CHAN HO PARK (1-2, 7.32 ERA)

vs.

BREWERS' STEVE WOODARD (2-1, 3.30 ERA)

Milwaukee County Stadium, 4 PDT

Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).

* Update--Park is coming off one of the worst outings of his four-year career. The right-hander lasted only 2 2/3 innings last Friday in a historic 12-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Park gave up two grand slams to Cardinal third baseman Fernando Tatis in St. Louis' 11-run third inning, marking the first time a player has hit two slams in an inning. Overall, the struggling pitcher gave up eight hits and 11 runs (six earned). Park has pitched poorly in three of his first four outings, frustrating Manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Charlie Hough. The hard-throwing Park, whose fastball has been clocked at 96 mph, has been reluctant to challenge batters recently. Johnson and Hough are encouraging Park to become aggressive again.

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