With the Dodgers rebuilding the left side of their infield and signing Ramon Martinez, Tom Candiotti, Hideo Nomo and Raul Mondesi to multiyear contracts, the acquisition of Darren Hall was pretty much lost in the shuffle.
The right-handed reliever missed the second half of last season, was put on waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays, declared free agency and signed for $175,000 with the Dodgers.
But Hall has been the big surprise of spring training.
He has yet to allow a run in six outings, has emerged as the club’s top setup man for Todd Worrell and could be an occasional closer.
“I thought I’d be pitching OK if I was healthy,” said Hall, who underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery last August. “But I never thought I’d be pitching like this. I feel like I’m pitching even better than I was in ’94 with Toronto [when he saved 17 games in 20 opportunities].”
Catcher Carlos Hernandez, who is being shopped around, hit a home run and played all nine innings in the Dodgers’ 7-3 exhibition loss to the Montreal Expos.
“I have been here a long time, and if they do something, I just hope they do the best for me,” Hernandez said. “I just want to play.”
The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets, both interested in Hernandez, had scouts at the game.
The Dodgers have decided to send Mike Harkey to triple-A Albuquerque instead of releasing him. . . . Chan Ho Park pitched a 1-2-3 inning in his first game since breaking his right little finger, striking out two. . . . Minnesota General Manager Terry Ryan talked with Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, about acquiring left-hander Joey Eischen. The Twins plan to return reliever Joe Jacobsen to the Dodgers after claiming him in the Rule 5 draft during the winter meetings. . . . First baseman Eric Karros played six innings and had three at-bats in a minor league game without any setbacks to his injured hamstring.