Park's Choice: L.A. or Korean Army

Chan Ho Park is considering returning to South Korea if he does not make the Dodgers out of spring training, he said Saturday.

Park said that since he must begin serving a 30-month stint in the Korean Army by the time he is 27, it might be best to fulfill his requirement now instead of returning to triple-A Albuquerque.

"I'm not sure what I would do," said Park, 22, who is vying for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. "I have to go back to Korea in a couple of years anyway. Everybody has to go to the army. Maybe I'd go now.

"I just don't know, but I do know that Koreans say I should be a big leaguer soon. They tell me to do like Hideo Nomo.

"It's important for me. Important for Korea. Important for everything."

Said Steve Kim, Park's agent: "I'm sure the Korean army would make a special waiver if he's pitching well, like Nomo did. They would probably make him a special ambassador. He'd be more valuable to them pitching here than being in the army."

Park yielded eight hits and three earned runs, and walked three while striking out five in his four-inning stint during a split-squad 6-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

Park's hopes of making the rotation hardly were buoyed by the performance of his primary competitor, Pedro Astacio. While Park yielded 11 runners in three innings to the Royals' "B" lineup, Astacio pitched four shutout innings in a split-squad game against the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians.

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Manager Tom Lasorda summoned Mike Scioscia into his office Saturday morning for a meeting.

"I told him that he's going to be a fine manager one day," Lasorda said, "and I'd be proud to have him manage the Dodgers one day. There's not too many guys I've ever told that. I said that to Bill Russell, Bobby Valentine and Joe Ferguson. And that's it."

Scioscia, who turned down the opportunity to manage at Albuquerque this season, has received interest from ESPN to become a studio host. But Scioscia plans to remain in his current job as a roving catching instructor and perhaps become a minor league manager next season.

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First baseman Eric Karros, who has yet to play in a spring-training game because of a strained left hamstring, said he will try to play for the first time today in a "B" game against the Montreal Expos.

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