Butler Planning to Stay in Game
Dodger center fielder Brett Butler still has no idea whether he’ll want to continue playing after this season, but he wants to stay in the game.
Butler, who is eyeing his dramatic return Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates after a four-month layoff after two cancer surgeries, said he would like to coach, manage and eventually become a general manager.
“My wife feels it’s inevitable it will happen,” Butler said. “I would love to stay in baseball. I think about it a lot.”
Butler said he wants to stay in baseball simply to help give the game its proper respect.
“For me, I think we lost the pride in what comes in being a major leaguer. There’s a difference in being a major leaguer and playing in the major leagues. There should be class and integrity in being a major leaguer, and that’s gone. I think we lost that in the late 80’s when the money got big.
“We need to treat the game with the respect it deserves. We lost that not only from the players’ standpoint, but the management standpoint. It’s sad.”
Butler passed another hurdle Friday when he was able to simulate game conditions by standing in the outfield for 15 minutes without having to get a drink of water. Butler’s saliva glands were damaged by his illness.
Tom Lasorda is appreciative of the gesture by New York Met Manager Bobby Valentine, but said he has no interest in joining the Met staff.
“I can’t do that,” he said. “I couldn’t do that to Peter [O’Malley, Dodger president].”
Lasorda also has been rumored as a possible candidate for the vacancy to manage the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but said that he has not been contacted.
Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, said has had several conversations with Pittsburgh Pirate General Manager Cam Bonifay about trade possibilities, but said it’s highly unlikely anything will transpire by tonight’s 9 p.m. deadline for playoff rosters to be submitted.
The Dodgers are interested in third baseman Jeff King, who also is signed for 1997, but the two sides never advanced past preliminary negotiations.
“It’s still a matter of the right fit and the right equation,” Claire said. “We have not had that type of fit. I’m very protective of our quality players.”
The Dodgers instead will call up six players for Sunday’s game, and then add a few players the following week, Claire said.