The Dodgers solved two off-season problems Thursday, signing popular utility player Mickey Hatcher to a one-year contract worth about $500,000 and ridding themselves of unhappy third baseman Tracy Woodson in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for Jeff Bittiger, a minor league right-handed pitcher.
The club also announced that shortstop Alfredo Griffin underwent arthroscopic surgery Thursday to fix a small tear in his left shoulder. The shoulder had been bothering Griffin for a couple of years, and he is expected to be ready for spring training.
Also, it was announced that reliever Tim Crews is scheduled for a hernia operation Monday.
By signing Hatcher, the Dodgers avoided having a second well-liked player file for free agency, which Hatcher said he was prepared to do if he had not been given at least a token raise from last year's $450,000 salary.
In last-minute talks before Hatcher was to join pitcher Fernando Valenzuela in the free-agent market, the Dodgers compromised with a one-year deal that, while far shy of Hatcher's original two-year, $1.4-million demand, was at least a raise.
"I'm very, very happy--there's no other place I wanted to play," Hatcher said in a statement.
Bittiger, 27, was assigned to Albuquerque. He had a 6.52 earned-run average in 9 2/3 innings with the White Sox last season.