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Second Chance Awaits

April 09, 2002|Gary Klein

After sweeping the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants are the only unbeaten team in the major leagues, off to the franchise's best start since 1930. The Giants have given up only five runs in their first six games, tying the major league record set by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1915.

Still, the Dodgers are looking forward to their three-game series against the Giants that begins tonight at Pacific Bell Park. It's the opener of a nine-game trip that will also take them to San Diego and Colorado.

The Dodgers are coming off a sweep of their own against the Rockies and believe they are a different team than the one outscored by the Giants, 24-2.

"We want to go in there and play like we did this last series against the Rockies," Dodger outfielder Shawn Green said. "I think it's maybe just a matter of us getting comfortable. We'll be going in there in more of a regular-season atmosphere rather than the opening series."

Catcher Paul Lo Duca relishes the opportunity to play before vocal Giant fans at Pacific Bell Park. "I love it there," Lo Duca said. "You get ripped by everybody. They know all about you and all about your family. They are in your ear when you go out to the on-deck circle and you get to give it right back to them after you hit a home run."

The Dodgers will meet a Giant team that is a bit banged up. Barry Bonds, who hit four home runs against the Dodgers last week, did not play Sunday because of a sore hamstring. Shortstop Rich Aurilia has a strained left groin.

The Dodgers on Monday requested waivers for outfielder Tom Goodwin and relief pitcher Mike Trombley for the purpose of giving the players their unconditional release, expected moves that could force the club to eat as much as $6 million in guaranteed contracts.

Their Dodger careers effectively ended March 30 when they were designated for assignment. Neither veteran will accept a minor league assignment with the Dodgers. They will almost certainly go unclaimed and become free agents Wednesday. Dodger General Manager Dan Evans said he explored trade possibilities for both players, but "could not find a match."

Goodwin is owed $3.75 million. He will be paid $3.25 million for this season with a $500,000 buyout of next season's $3.5-million option. Trombley is owed $2.25 million. He will be paid $2 million for this season and $250,000 to buy out his $3-million option for next season. If the players sign minimum $200,000 contracts with other teams, their salaries will be deducted from the amount the Dodgers owe.


Mark Grudzielanek batted second in the lineup for the first time this season against the Rockies on Sunday and had a run-scoring single in the fourth inning. He also got hit by a pitch in the third and scored a run. Grudzielanek, who hit second last season, will probably return to the eighth spot tonight as center fielder and leadoff hitter Dave Roberts returns from a day off and rookie shortstop Cesar Izturis resumes his role as the No. 2 hitter.

Grudzielanek, batting .222, said he is adjusting to hitting lower in the order in front of the pitcher. Last season, he hit .271 with 13 homers and 55 runs batted in and drew 28 walks in 539 at-bats. He has walked twice in six games and knows the number of free passes is likely to significantly increase.

"A lot of eight-hole hitters are going to get walked because you'd rather have the pitcher hitting ninth try to beat you," Grudzielanek said. "You have a couple choices. Try and broaden your strike zone and try to hit something or possibly take the walk and see what happens."


Opponent--San Francisco Giants, three games.

Site--Pacific Bell Park.


TV--Fox Sports Net 2 (tonight and Wednesday) and Channel 13 (Thursday).

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

Records--Dodgers 3-3, Giants 6-0.

Record vs. Giants--0-3.




(0-1, 12.00 ERA)



RUSS ORTIZ (1-0, 0.00)

Update--The Dodgers are eager to avenge the Giants' season-opening three-game sweep of them last week. This game once again matches Nomo against Ortiz. Last Wednesday, Nomo gave up four runs and six hits and walked six before he was removed after three innings of a 12-0 defeat. Ortiz gave up three hits in seven innings and also hit a two-run home run.

Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.--Dodgers' Odalis Perez (0-1, 4.76 ERA) vs. Ryan Jensen (1-0, 0.00).

Thursday, 12:30 p.m.--Dodgers' Andy Ashby (1-0, 0.00) vs. Kirk Rueter (0-0, 1.29).

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