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DODGERS REPORT

Club Unsure of What to Do With Young

July 26, 1999|JASON REID

Second baseman Eric Young continued to watch from the dugout Sunday as frustrated Dodger officials focus on what to do with him.

Young was benched indefinitely Saturday because of dissatisfaction with his performance. The speedy leadoff batter has been slowed by recurring leg and ankle injuries throughout the season.

He has 34 stolen bases, but Young is batting only .263. Moreover, Young has struggled defensively.

"E.Y. has been playing in pain the whole year, and it's time for him to get healthy," said Young's agent, Danny Horwits. "His legs haven't been right since spring training and they [Dodger officials] know it.

"He hasn't been able to play the way he can because he's been trying to battle through it for the sake of the team. Unfortunately, with the type of injuries he has, you just have to sit and rehab for a few weeks, or you're not going to get any better."

General Manager Kevin Malone has worked hard to trade Young, but Malone has been unable to persuade teams to assume the $9 million Young is owed under the final two seasons of his contract, industry sources said. Teams also are reluctant to pursue Young because he was injured often last season.

And the Dodgers might soon have a bigger problem with Young, team sources said, because Young believes he needs to be put on the disabled list. That's the last thing the Dodgers want to do because, under major league rules, they cannot even attempt to trade Young if they assign him to the disabled list.

Historically, the organization has put players on the disabled list if they say they are injured and medical personnel agree.

Horwits plans to speak with Malone this week about the situation. The Dodgers will reevaluate Young this week. Stay tuned.

*

Pitcher Robinson Checo will be recalled from triple-A Albuquerque today or Tuesday to start against the Cincinnati Reds in place of left-hander Carlos Perez, who has been demoted to the bullpen. When last at Dodger Stadium on April 21, Checo got pounded in only one-third of an inning in relief during an 11-4 loss in 12 innings to the Atlanta Braves.

Checo gave up two runs, prompting Manager Davey Johnson to option the erratic right-hander to Albuquerque on April 23. But Checo, according to what Johnson has been told by team officials, turned a corner while pitching for the Dukes.

In 14 starts, Checo is 3-6 with a 4.36 earned-run average. However, Checo, acquired from Detroit in the Dave Mlicki trade, is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his last two starts.

Johnson said the Dodgers are considering many options about how to make rook for Checo on the 25-man roster. Perez or right-handed reliever Jamie Arnold might be designated for assignment.

*

Johnson moved to close the door on the latest Raul Mondesi situation, saying he has spoken with Mondesi about his unauthorized break in the bullpen during the fifth inning of Friday's 10-1 loss.

"It's not a big issue with me," Johnson said. "It's wrong he did it, but I don't think he had any sinister motive. He knows not to do it again."

ON DECK

* Opponent--Cincinnati Reds, four games.

* Site--Dodger Stadium.

* Tonight--7.

* TV--Fox Sports West 2, every game.

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

* Records--Dodgers 44-54, Reds 55-41.

* Record vs. Reds--2-1.

* Tickets--(213) 224-1448.

TODAY

DODGERS'

ISMAEL VALDES

(8-8, 3.44 ERA)

vs.

REDS'

RON VILLONE

(5-3, 3.48 ERA)

Dodgers Stadium, 7 p.m.

TV--Fox Sports West 2. Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330)

* Update--Things appear bleak for the Dodgers heading into Saturday's non-waiver trading deadline. How bad is the situation? General Manager Kevin Malone has even broached trading one of the team's young starting pitchers in package deals to move other unwanted players on the 25-man roster. Many teams have been trying to acquire right-handers Valdes, Chan Ho Park and Darren Dreifort. While acknowledging it is unlikely he would move one of them, Malone said he can't rule anything out because the team is reeling. "At this point, that's something you have to look at," Malone said. "Sometimes you have to do things you might not want to do when you're trying to build for the future. We can't ignore anything." The surprising Reds are in second place in the National League Central division.

* Tuesday, 7 p.m.--Chan Ho Park (6-8, 6.16) vs. Brett Tomko (3-5, 4.93).

* Wednesday, 7 p.m.--Robinson Checo (0-0, 17.18) vs. Dennys Reyes (2-1, 2.01).

* Thursday, 1 p.m.--Darren Dreifort (8-9, 5.68) vs. Pete Harnisch (9-6, 3.71).

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