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DODGERS REPORT

Kreuter Sends Help Signal

April 13, 2001|JASON REID

PHOENIX — Chan Ho Park said Chad Kreuter guided him in an 18-victory season, and Kreuter believes he could similarly help Darren Dreifort.

But Kreuter is not Dreifort's primary catcher, limiting his ability to influence the right-hander.

Former manager Davey Johnson paired Park and Kreuter exclusively last season because the results were overwhelming, but Manager Jim Tracy believes Dreifort's success does not hinge on working with only one batterymate.

Dreifort has said he is comfortable pitching to Paul Lo Duca and Kreuter, and Lo Duca is considered better offensively.

"I talked with Darren about that, and Darren has publicly stated it makes no difference to him who catches him," Tracy said. "It's just a matter of what's best for our club, and trying to win a game on a given night."

But Dreifort had better statistics with Kreuter than Todd Hundley in 2000, and his performance after two starts raises questions.

With Kreuter behind the plate Wednesday, Dreifort pitched six strong innings in an 11-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark.

He gave up three hits (one a home run) and four runs (two earned) in an efficient 79-pitch outing.

Throwing to Lo Duca in his first start April 4, Dreifort was chased in a five-run fifth inning in the Diamondbacks' 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium. He gave up 10 hits and six earned runs.

Trends cannot be determined in two games, and Lo Duca has the confidence of the staff, Tracy and pitching coach Jim Colborn.

But Kreuter and Dreifort might be a better fit.

"To me they [Dreifort's starts] were somewhat similar, the only difference being he had 11 runs to work with in the last one," Tracy said. "He had four great innings [Wednesday] night and kind of hit a little road block there in the fifth.

"It was pretty similar to what we saw at Dodger Stadium when [Lo Duca] was catching him. He was going great and just gave up four, five base hits in a row, so I feel totally comfortable in whoever is catching Darren."

Dreifort, though, did not overcome his problems in the fifth inning of his first outing. He did in his most recent with Kreuter's help.

"Dreif is very similar to Chan Ho," Kreuter said. "They're similar in the sense that they both need a very visual target and to be visually given positive reinforcement during the game.

"Just something like in Wednesday's game, he was missing the ball off the plate a couple of times. I just gave him a target, pointed and he gave me a nod. He was fine after that and we just kept it going."

Kreuter is not lobbying for an increased role with Dreifort despite his desire to help.

"I would like to have that with Dreif, but it has to be initiated by the pitching coach or the manager," he said. "You're stepping across the line when you do that--and I won't do that."

*

Infielder Dave Hansen, sidelined because of broken bones on his left hand, will rejoin the team today in San Diego, Tracy said.

Tracy and batting coach Jack Clark will evaluate Hansen after he takes batting practice, helping them determine when he should begin a rehabilitation assignment.

The Dodgers hope to soon activate Hansen from the disabled list.

*

Third baseman Adrian Beltre has been fielding grounders at Dodger Stadium under the supervision of physical therapist Pat Screnar.

Beltre is expected to be sidelined until mid-May after having abdominal surgery twice since January.

ON DECK

* Opponent--San Diego Padres, three games.

* Site--Qualcomm Stadium.

* Tonight--7.

* TV--Fox Sports Net 2 tonight, Channel 5 Saturday and Sunday.

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

* Records--Dodgers 6-4, Padres 4-5.

* 2000 record vs. Padres--8-5.

TONIGHT

DODGERS' CHAN HO PARK

(2-0, 3.00 ERA)

vs.

PADRES' WOODY WILLIAMS

(1-1, 9.28 ERA)

* Update--Park struggled with his command but still earned a victory, 10-4, over the San Francisco Giants April 7. The right-hander is 7-5 with a 3.44 earned-run average in his career against the Padres, and was 2-1 last season. Williams is 2-2 with a 1.66 ERA overall against the Dodgers.

* Saturday, 7 p.m.--Eric Gagne (0-1, 5.73) vs. Brian Tolberg (1-0, 2.25).

* Sunday, 2 p.m.--Kevin Brown (0-1, 1.13) vs. Kevin Jarvis (0-0, 4.76).

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