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Valenzuela Has an Offer to Play

June 30, 2004|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

Dodger broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela said Tuesday he is considering an offer to play for a team in the Mexican winter league, but the retired pitcher who once inspired Fernandomania downplayed published reports he had already reached an agreement to return to the mound.

"I'm still working over here. It's nothing like, 'Yes, I am going over there for sure,' " Valenzuela said before the opener of a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. "I don't sign anything."

Valenzuela, who turns 44 on Sept. 15, last pitched professionally in 2001 for Naranjeros of Hermosillo of the Pacific League.

"First I have to know those people before I say, 'Yeah, I'm going to play,' " said Valenzuela, who is in his second season as a member of the Dodgers' Spanish-language broadcast team. "I've got to be sure what they think."

Valenzuela, who pitched for the Dodgers from 1980-90, last pitched in the major leagues with San Diego and St. Louis in 1997. He had a career record of 173-153 with a 3.54 earned-run average.

Under the terms of Valenzuela's contract, he would be bound to broadcast Dodger playoff games if the team qualified for postseason play for the first time since 1996. Aguilas is scheduled to begin play Oct. 12. Valenzuela said he planned to speak with Aguilas in the next few days.

"If I go over there, I'll just go because I still want to play," Valenzuela said. "But my job is over here. It's to be with the team. It's to be with the Dodgers."

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