BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : The Message Is Clear to Strawberry

When Darryl Strawberry heard of the recent sexual assault complaint involving three New York Mets and the spring home of former Met teammate Dwight Gooden, it touched a nerve.

It was the nerve that connects him to his 3-year-old son in St. Louis.

Strawberry was ruled the boy's father while losing a paternity suit filed by Lisa Clayton in 1989. She was seeking more than $11,000 a month in child support.

He said he knows the boy's name, and where to send the check, but little more about him, adding: "I send them money every month, like paying a bill, but there is nothing else there . . . it's strange, it's different."

Strawberry said his involvement with Clayton is an example of how athletes can find trouble.

"It was just a fling, man, just a one-night thing," he said. "I really regret it. But this is part of a ballplayer's life. A lot of women looking for big names."

Strawberry said recent events should make athletes cautious in their dealings with women.

"What happened to Earvin (Magic Johnson), what happened to (Mike) Tyson, it's not a joke. It is nothing to play around with. If you ignore it, and say it's not going to happen to you, it happens to you before you know it."

Manager Tom Lasorda said that Lenny Harris will again be benched against left-handers this season, even though Harris is one of only 10 National League players to bat .280 or higher for the past two seasons.

"There is no way I can play Harris or (Dave) Hansen against left-handed pitching. I'm just too overloaded with left-handers," Lasorda said. "Even if I wanted to, I couldn't."

Harris, who had 429 at-bats last season while playing slightly more than half the innings at third base, is not surprised. But he is still not happy.

"I keep hearing the same things over and over again," Harris said. "It makes it tough when you have two big years and still hear that you cannot hit left-handed pitching."

Harris batted a career-high .241 against left-handers last season, has a career .230 average against them and a .292 average against right-handers.

"I will do it and not complain, because I know Tommy likes me as a platoon player and I can't change that," Harris said. "But this is not something I would choose."

Mike Scioscia's seventh-inning home run, only the second by a Dodger regular, broke a tie and gave the Dodgers a 6-4 victory over the Montreal Expos Friday at West Palm Beach, Fla. . . . Kal Daniels made two diving stops at first base but said that he is still learning the position. . . . Gooden is tentatively scheduled to make his first exhibition appearance for the Mets in a B game at Dodgertown Sunday. But Strawberry said he wouldn't face his friend. "I don't play in B games, man," Strawberry said.

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