Rain Gives Dodgers Chance to Regroup

Times Staff Writer

The postponement of Tuesday night's game between the Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, because of steady rain showers, gave Dodger management time to consider possible solutions to a five-game losing streak. With Tuesday's game rescheduled for Thursday night, originally an off-day for the club in New York, Dodger Vice President Fred Claire and Manager Tom Lasorda met for several hours to discuss problematic areas.

Among the topics was the club's porous infield play and the continual search for a productive center fielder. Claire has been talking to many clubs about acquiring a center fielder, and he said he and Lasorda also have thought about moving Steve Sax to center field and acquiring a second baseman.

Claire, whose policy is not to discuss trade talk, confirmed that he met with Philadelphia President Bill Giles Monday night. In spring training, the Dodgers talked to the Phillies about trading pitcher Alejandro Pena for either Phillie outfielder Gary Redus (since traded to the Chicago White Sox) or Milt Thompson.

"I don't see us doing anything at this point with the Dodgers," Giles told Philadelphia writers when asked about his meeting with Claire. "I don't think we can give them what they are looking for."

The Dodgers may wind up shifting their focus to acquiring a second baseman, should they move Sax to the outfield. In the past, Sax has had an aversion to such a switch.

Claire said it has been discussed, but that no decision has been made. "We are constantly evaluating our situation," Claire said. "There are situations we have to prepare ourselves for. (Moving Sax to center field) has major ramifications on the club. Steve Sax is a great player, and there are some alternatives that may or may not come to fruition."

Would Sax accept a change?

"I think Steve's attitude on that is a good attitude," Claire said. "People, like Steve, will do whatever he can for the team. Just like Orel Hershiser, when we asked him to pitch relief that night in St. Louis."

The first four games on this trip, which is expected to continue tonight, weather permitting, have been defensive and pitching disasters for the Dodgers.

In the four losses, the defense has committed seven errors, including a costly one in Monday night's loss that resulted in five unearned runs. Through 39 games, the Dodgers have 36 errors.

Dodger pitching, meanwhile, has given up 29 runs and 44 hits in four games.

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