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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Parker Keeps Chasing That Dream

Maybe it’s silly to keep dreaming. When you’re 32 and never have been a starting player, it’s illogical to believe that suddenly you’ll be viewed differently.

Yet Dodger outfielder Rick Parker looks at what’s happening with the rest of the baseball world, takes a look at his situation, and can’t help but dream.

Parker, a career .236 hitter who has played in only 120 major league games in his 10 professional seasons, might be presented with the chance to become the Dodgers’ everyday left fielder.

Billy Ashley, projected to be the everyday left fielder, was benched Tuesday and replaced by Parker. While the Dodgers insist they have not given up on Ashley--who’s batting .246 with 51 strikeouts in 118 at-bats--they say they no longer can afford to remain patient if they want to win the division.

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“I understand the situation here,” said Parker, who began the game batting .500 with four RBI in 12 at-bats. “Ashley hit 63 homers the last two years [in triple-A Albuquerque]. He’s your future.

“But I also was taught in rookie ball that if that door of opportunity opens an inch, be ready to kick it off the hinges. That’s what I’d like to do. This is a game of opportunities, and I’m ready for mine.

“I look at guys like Jeff Manto [of the Baltimore Orioles] and Mike Kingery [of the Colorado Rockies], and they were in a situation just like mine. Then they got their opportunity. Look at them now.”

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The Dodgers concede they might have gotten caught up in the euphoria when Mike Piazza returned last week. But their flaws were revealed in the three-game series with the Phillies.

While Piazza (.500) and Eric Karros (.422) had been brilliant with runners in scoring position this season, suddenly their opportunities were limited. Raul Mondesi was left with the burden and struggled, batting .239 with runners in scoring position, stranding a whopping 68 base runners. The result was that Mondesi was dropped from third in the lineup to sixth Tuesday, a spot where he’s expected to stay.

“They can do what they want, I don’t care,” said Mondesi, obviously agitated. “I know I could have done it. And I will do it. I’ll show them.”

Said hitting coach Reggie Smith: “Ultimately he will be in that [No. 3] spot, but right now, you want more discipline.”

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It’s premature for the Dodgers to discuss any plans for the off-season, and they would be cited for tampering if they publicly discussed their ideas, but they are keeping a close eye on Toronto Blue Jay second baseman Roberto Alomar.

The Blue Jays plan to let Alomar, a five-time all-star, play out his contract this season, and privately have doubts whether they can re-sign him.

If Alomar indeed becomes a free agent, the Dodgers plan to explore the possibility of signing him. Delino DeShields, their current second baseman, also will be a free agent.

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Right-hander Mike Milchin of triple-A Albuquerque threw a seven-inning no-hitter Tuesday night against the Vancouver Canadians, winning, 2-0, in the second game of a doubleheader in the Pacific Coast League.


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