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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : They Are First in These Standings, Too

Call it more for your money . . . or an even better reason to head for the freeway by the seventh inning. On average, the Dodgers are playing the longest games in the National League this season, at 2 hours 58 minutes per contest. The league average is 2:52.

In the American League, the Dodgers’ 2:58 would match the league average. The longest games in the American League are played by the Chicago White Sox, who average 3:08.

Flu-ridden catcher Mike Scioscia was at the ballpark Thursday in case he was needed for an at-bat or an emergency, but he spent most of the time in the trainer’s room. Scioscia had to leave the lineup midway through Wednesday’s game. His absence gave Gary Carter a rare start against a right-hander. . . . Reliever Roger McDowell was in uniform and available to play Thursday after being diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his left knee Wednesday. Dodger trainers said McDowell, who was limping Wednesday, felt improvement Thursday. . . . Third baseman Jeff Hamilton ended his rehabilitation assignment to Albuquerque after two days, returning to Los Angeles to continue therapy for a torn knee ligament. Hamilton played two games as designated hitter for the Dukes but felt he could not continue. His return to Los Angeles means he has 18 days remaining when he continues the rehabilitation assignment, which has a 20-day limit.

Professional baseball’s leader in pitching victories this season is Pedro Martinez, younger brother of the Dodgers’ Ramon. Pedro threw six shutout innings for Albuquerque in a 4-0 victory over Phoenix Wednesday for his 17th victory. The younger Martinez opened the season 8-0 at Class-A Bakersfield, was promoted to double-A San Antonio, where he was 7-5, and is 2-1 since joining triple-A Albuquerque for a season record of 17-6.

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