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DODGERS : Team Feels Confident as Season Approaches

TIMES STAFF WRITER

When the Dodgers break camp today after their game against the Montreal Expos, they will return to Los Angeles with a regular starting infield of Eric Karros, Jody Reed, Jose Offerman and Tim Wallach.

“It’s been great,” Orel Hershiser said. “In the 20 innings I have pitched this spring, they have failed to turn the double play only once.”

A healthy Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry can’t wait to make up for last season. Davis, who is batting .305 with three home runs and 14 runs batted in, has been ready for two weeks to get the season started.

Strawberry, who was slowed by a sore groin, is batting .185 with two home runs and 11 RBIs. “In the spring, batting average means little for the veterans,” said Karros, who has a .391 average with four home runs.

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“They come here to work on things, and the younger guys come here to put up awesome numbers. But when the season starts the veterans turn it up and reality sets in. Suddenly the younger guys aren’t hitting .360, they are hitting .240.”

The Dodgers play the Angels Friday night at Dodger Stadium and Saturday night in Anaheim.

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Pedro Martinez was impressive Tuesday night in his start against the New York Mets, but he still doesn’t know what the Dodgers are going to do with him.

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Martinez, 21, the younger brother of Ramon, threw the ball hard, giving up one earned run in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-4 loss to the Mets.

“I have no idea what they are going to do,” Martinez said. “It’s pretty hard. I would like to know what is going on, so I can prepare my mind and be ready.”

The club’s alternatives are to send Martinez back to Albuquerque to pitch regularly or put him in the bullpen in Los Angeles. Ramon Martinez said that he would like to see his brother stay with the Dodgers because he may get more opportunities to pitch when there is an injury or a doubleheader.

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With no clear-cut left-handed pitcher emerging, the Dodgers say they are interested in David Wells, who was waived by the Toronto Blue Jays, and in former Dodger Matt Young, waived by the Boston Red Sox. Young played for the Dodgers in 1987.

“Are we interested in these players to the extent of exploring them with our scouts? Yes,” said Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president.

Wells’ salary of $2.05 million and Young’s of $1.7 million are a little steep for the Dodgers, who would probably wait until Friday night to see if the players clear waivers.

The Dodgers are also reportedly interested in Mark Davis of Atlanta and Chuck McElroy of the Chicago Cubs. But Claire cautions they still may go with a left-hander on their own team, Steve Wilson, or Omar Daal, a minor leaguer who has pitched three scoreless innings.

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Despite former Dodger Tim Crews being legally drunk in the boating accident that killed Crews and Cleveland Indian teammate Steve Olin, Claire said the Dodgers would not change their plans to wear a patch on their uniforms honoring Crews. . . . As expected, the Dodgers released left-hander Lee Guetterman. . . . The Dodgers worked out a deal with Lance Parrish and Kevin Elster to remain under Albuquerque triple-A contracts. Parrish can remain with the triple-A club until he is called up by the Dodgers or another club wants to sign him, in which case Claire said he would release Parrish immediately. The Dodgers delayed making a decision on Elster until April 15 to give his sprained shoulder time to heal and to see him play more.


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