Waterfowl Weather Fouls Dodgers : Gibson, Valenzuela Affected Most by Consecutive Rainouts

Times Staff Writer

The rain that forced postponement of the Dodgers' second consecutive game against the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday night, and threatens their entire visit to Pennsylvania, also accomplished the following:

--Ruined the possibility that Kirk Gibson, eligible to leave the disabled list today, will do that. Gibson is not likely to be activated until next week.

--Delayed Fernando Valenzuela's next trial by fire. He will be skipped during a weekend series in Philadelphia and will not pitch again until Tuesday night in New York.

--Prompted Mickey Hatcher to start a new career in marine design.

"I've been working on new plans for an ark," Hatcher said of the rain, which also is predicted for Philadelphia, where the Dodgers are scheduled to open a three-game series Friday night.

The rainouts will force the Dodgers to play six games in four days when they return to Pittsburgh in July.

In addition, combined with scheduled days off Monday and today, the Dodgers will go into Friday night's game having been idle four consecutive days, benefiting some of their injured players but leaving a pitching staff that boasts the National League's best earned-run average in slight disarray and cutting into Gibson's rehabilitation schedule.

Assistant trainer Charlie Strasser said that the Dodgers hoped to have Gibson test his tender left hamstring by running the bases here, but that won't happen until Saturday or Sunday at the earliest.

"We'd definitely like to see him run the bases to see where we are," Strasser said. "It's obvious now he's not going to come off (the disabled list) today."

Said Gibson: "It would be news to me if I do. I got some running in here, but I haven't run the bases yet and I think it's important that I do that for a while before I come back."

Strasser said the Dodgers will try to rent a fieldhouse if they encounter more rain in Philadelphia, allowing Gibson and others to work out.

Tim Leary, scheduled to pitch here Tuesday night and then rescheduled for Wednesday, will not have pitched for nine days when he faces the Phillies Friday night.

He will be followed by Tim Belcher and Orel Hershiser in Philadelphia, and Mike Morgan and Valenzuela in the first two games in New York.

Valenzuela originally was scheduled to follow Leary. He will have 11 days between starts.

Morgan, the National League leader in earned-run average, was originally scheduled to pitch before Hershiser, but they were flopped, pitching coach Ron Perranoski said, to give Morgan's sore toe another day of rest.

Choosing his words carefully, Manager Tom Lasorda refused to say that the decision to skip Valenzuela was performance-oriented.

"We penalize the entire staff if we move them all back," he said. "This way only one feels it more than any of the others."

It wasn't a totally unproductive day for the Pirates, who traded veteran utility infielder Ken Oberkfell to the San Francisco Giants for left-handed relief pitcher Roger Samuels, who has spent most of his seven seasons in the minor leagues.

Oberkfell, 32, is a 13-year major league veteran with a .282 career batting average. He is batting .125 with no home runs and two runs batted this season in 14 games.

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