Guerrero Says It’s First Time He Has Tried a Corked Bat
The first tip that something was amiss came when Dodger rookie second baseman Wilton Guerrero ran faster to retrieve his broken bat than he did to first base after grounding out to lead off Sunday’s 6-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Guerrero aroused the suspicion of home plate umpire Steve Rippley because most players let batboys get broken bats.
Rippley asked the batboy for the bat.
“When he brought it by my face I said, ‘Let me have look at it,’ and I knew what it was,” Rippley said.
Rippley conferred with crew chief Bruce Froemming, who ejected Guerrero after showing the bat to Dodger Manager Bill Russell.
“I’ve had it for about two or three months, but I’ve never used it before,” Guerrero said in Spanish through Dodger Coach Manny Motta. “I had some doubts about using it before, but I decided to use it today.”
What’s the advantage to using a corked bat?
“Some people say that using a corked bat causes the ball to travel faster and farther, but there’s never been any proof of that,” Dodger hitting coach Reggie Smith said. “I’ve never used one, so I can’t tell you that they do.”
Nelson Liriano, Guerrero’s replacement, botched his first play when a pop fly by Cardinal leadoff hitter Delino DeShields dropped into shallow center in the first inning.
Right fielder Todd Hollandsworth said he thought Liriano was going to catch it.
Liriano recovered from his shaky start, making two putouts and getting two assists.
Dodger starter Chan Ho Park got a scare when DeShields lined a single off his right hip with two outs in the third inning.
Park wasn’t injured.
“I’m stronger than the ball,” he joked.
Russell gave right fielder Raul Mondesi and shortstop Greg Gagne Sunday off.
Hollandsworth started in right in place of Mondesi, who had started the first 52 games, and Roger Cedeno started in center field in place of Hollandsworth. Juan Castro started at shortstop in place of Gagne, who had only five hits in his last 42 at-bats (.119).
DeShields was four for four. It was his first four-hit game since Aug. 24, 1995, when he did it with the Dodgers against the Philadelphia Phillies.
* Opponent--Houston Astros, two games.
* Tonight--5 p.m.
* TV--Fox Sports West 2 tonight.
* Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330).
* Records--Dodgers 27-26, Astros 26-29.
* Record vs. Astros--1-2.
DODGERS’ HIDEO NOMO (5-4, 3.58 ERA) vs. ASTROS’ DONNIE WALL (1-2, 8.36)
* UPDATE: Nomo is second in the NL in strikeouts (80) and has registered seven or more strikeouts in four consecutive games. Catcher Mike Piazza is hitting .451 with one home run, three doubles, eight runs and five RBIs in his last nine games. Raul Mondesi is batting .323 with two home runs, three RBIs and seven runs in his last eight games. Houston’s Jeff Bagwell is batting .333 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs.
* Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.--Pedro Astacio (3-4, 3.00 ERA) vs. Darryl Kile (6-2, 2.14 ERA).