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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Gross Replaces Hershiser Tonight

Kevin Gross will start for the Dodgers tonight, replacing Orel Hershiser, who has been scratched because of soreness behind his right shoulder, the Dodgers announced Friday.

“The area of the operation is not the problem, so that’s why I’m not too concerned,” Frank Jobe said, refering to his reconstructive surgery on that shoulder.

“Orel has soreness in the back of the shoulder from throwing,” Jobe said. “It’s been coming on a little at a time over the last week, and while I’m not concerned, the safest thing is to have him miss a start.”

It is the first start Hershiser, 5-2 and a winner of four consecutive decisions, has missed since rejoining the rotation with his rebuilt shoulder. Jobe said he will start again Friday night in a doubleheader at Pittsburgh.

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On Friday, Manny Mota threw early batting practice, working with Jose Offerman on his bunting from both sides of the plate.

“His game depends on speed, and we want him to use it,” Mota said. “I tell him, ‘Don’t be afraid. Take a chance.’ The way he runs, I don’t see why he doesn’t bunt a couple times a game.”

Offerman’s playing time is expected to be reduced significantly when Alfredo Griffin is activated Sunday.

“The talent is there, but he has to be himself,” Mota said of Offerman. “I think he feels pressure to prove himself.”

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Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, said he probably will not make a trade before today’s deadline to make a player eligible for the postseason.


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