Braves Give Team Humility Lesson

Chairs were kicked across the room. Curses filled the air. The relaxed and sedate atmosphere of spring training was replaced by anger and frustration.

It might have been only a spring training game, but losing, 12-2, to the Atlanta Braves on local and national TV Sunday afternoon has a way of humbling a team in a hurry.

The Dodgers, who vowed at the start of spring training that they wanted to intimidate teams this year, have lost all three games to the Braves this spring by a combined score of 27-10. Worse, the Dodgers had their entire starting lineup intact Sunday with the exception of first baseman Eric Karros.

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Kirk Gibson, whose game-winning homer in the 1988 World Series was voted the greatest sports moment in Los Angeles history, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Dodgers' home-opener April 8 against the Atlanta Braves. The game already is a sellout.

"It's almost embarrassing to make more out of this than it already is," Gibson said. "You shouldn't be patted on the back just for doing your job.

"But I have a lot of respect for Mr. [Peter] O'Malley and what he did for me and my family. You certainly don't insult him by turning down the offer."

Gibson, who retired last August, said O'Malley has spoken to him about joining the organization as a coach or roving instructor. Yet, he wants to stay home with his wife and four kids before deciding his future.

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Dodger left-handed reliever Billy Brewer, who had attracted interest from several clubs, will be sidelined at least a week because of tendinitis in his elbow. Brewer underwent an MRI test Sunday, and the preliminary report was that there was no structural damage. . . . Karros played five innings of a minor-league intrasquad game Sunday night without any further hamstring problems. "I'm excited from where I was a week-and-a-half ago," Karros said, "but at the same token I haven't played a [spring training] game yet. I'm shooting to be ready for opening day. If it happens great, if not there's nothing I can do about it." He was assured by Manager Tom Lasorda that he will again bat cleanup this season, sandwiched between Piazza and Mondesi. . . . Chan Ho Park had little difficulties pitching on the side with his broken right pinkie finger and received clearance to pitch in games this week. Pitching coach Dave Wallace said Park will receive a start later in the week. . . . The Toronto Blue Jays became the latest team to express interest in the Dodgers' surplus of left-handed relievers. . . . Ramon Martinez became the fourth consecutive starter to struggle, yielding seven hits and six runs (three earned) in four innings.

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