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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Offerman Admits He Feels Pressure

Shortly after hearing that Alfredo Griffin will return to the lineup this weekend to replace him, Jose Offerman acknowledged that he has felt the pressure of being a rookie in a pennant race. “I try to relax, but sometimes I cannot do that,” said Offerman, who was batting .186 with seven errors in 22 games since replacing the injured Griffin. “I know I’ve got some pressure on me. Everything is coming at me at one time. Sometimes, I have to think about it.”

Offerman was benched Wednesday because the Dodgers were facing Pittsburgh Pirate right-hander Doug Drabek. Offerman, a switch-hitter, is batting .119 left-handed.

“I try to do everything they tell me to do,” Offerman said. “But I hit better when I feel more comfortable, when I feel like I can concentrate. Sometimes that is hard.”

After a pregame examination by Dr. John Rehm, Griffin was cleared to return to the lineup this weekend after being on the disabled list since Aug. 6 with a fractured right cheekbone. A pin will remain in his cheek for a couple of weeks.

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Griffin will have to wear a protective facemask the rest of the season. He said he has considered painting half of the protective facemask white so he would look like the Phantom of the Opera.

“With this mask, I will become famous,” Griffin said.

Fred Claire, Dodger vice president, said he has informed the “three or four” players who will recalled from triple-A Albuquerque and double-A San Antonio when rosters expand Sunday. The probables are pitcher John Wetteland, catcher Carlos Hernandez, first baseman Eric Karros and outfielder Tom Goodwin from Albuquerque, and pitcher Dennis Cook from San Antonio.

Tim Belcher spoke to Claire Wednesday to clarify his statements last weekend, when he said maybe it would be better if the Dodgers fell into second place so it would wake them up. “I didn’t want it to sound like I wanted to lose, all I meant was that our team needed to wake up,” said Belcher, whose original statement brought agreement throughout much of the clubhouse. . . . Stan Javier strained his left Achilles’ tendon Tuesday in Chicago, and is listed as day to day. . . . Sean Snedeker of the Vero Beach Dodgers tossed the first perfect game in team’s history in a 3-0, seven-inning victory over the St. Lucie Mets in a Florida State League game in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

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