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Shaw Is Making the Adjustment

Beginning a new job can be difficult, but Jeff Shaw is fitting in well with the Dodgers.

The closer said he feels comfortable in his new surroundings, and his teammates have welcomed him. Of course, saving five games in as many opportunities has eased Shaw’s transition.

Shaw said things haven’t been as easy as they’ve looked, but he’s enjoying himself.

“I think it’s going pretty well,” Shaw said. “You never go into a new situation totally comfortable, because it just doesn’t work that way, or it doesn’t work that way usually.

“I mean, just think about when you go into a new job. There are a lot of people you don’t know, and there’s a lot you have to learn. I went into a job where I had to meet 24 new people, so it’s tough. But I’m getting there.”

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Before Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros, Shaw retired 22 of 24 batters he had faced since being acquired July 4 from the Cincinnati Reds for Paul Konerko and Dennis Reyes.

He had not given up a run in his six appearances and had struck out seven without a walk in 7 1/3 innings. He gave up a leadoff home run to Carl Everett in the ninth inning Wednesday, then struck out the next three Astros for his 28th save.

“He’s come in and he’s done the job he was asked to do,” first baseman Eric Karros said. “He hasn’t had to come in yet with a runner on second and Tony Gywnn at the plate, and that’s when we’re going to need him too.”

*

Seattle pitcher Randy Johnson probably won’t wind up the Dodgers, but interim General Manager Tom Lasorda has been working the phones in an attempt to complete another major trade before the July 31 deadline.

Lasorda isn’t actively pursuing the Mariners’ ace left-hander, sources said. Instead, he’s trying to upgrade the Dodgers’ everyday lineup.

He hopes to move one or two of the team’s high-salaried veterans to reduce the ballclub’s $57-million payroll because he realizes the Dodgers have many holes to fill. Lasorda won’t have the flexibility to pursue high-profile free agents unless he reduces the payroll.

Lasorda declined to comment on possible moves, but injured left fielder/third baseman Bobby Bonilla is among the players whom Lasorda may target. Lasorda inherited Bonilla’s contract, which has two years and $11.8 million remaining, and others that could handcuff him in the off-season.

Bonilla, 35, is on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left wrist, and it’s doubtful Lasorda could trade him unless he was included in a package, or the Dodgers paid part of his salary. Lasorda might be willing to trade promising second-year second baseman Wilton Guerrero as part of a multiplayer package.

*

Mike Piazza might return to the Southland after all--in Anaheim.

The Angels top the list of teams that the former Dodger All-Star catcher would sign with if he becomes a free agent, sources said.

Piazza, who likely won’t resign with the New York Mets, would also consider the Baltimore Orioles, among others, but the Angels are No. 1 on his list.

Piazza was traded by the Dodgers to the Florida Marlins on May 15 after rejecting six-year, $79-million offer. He was traded to the Mets on May 22.

TONIGHT

DODGERS’

DAVE MLICKI

(5-4, 5.04 ERA)

vs.

ASTROS’

SEAN BERGMAN

(9-5, 3.18 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m.

TV--Fox Sports West. Radio--AM 1150, KWKW (1330).

* Update--Mlicki is 4-0 with a 4.28 ERA in eight starts for the Dodgers since being acquired June 4 in the four-player Hideo Nomo deal. He had his worst outing as a Dodger in his most recent start July 18, giving up seven runs in a 10-8 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. He gave up six hits--including two home runs--and made 80 pitches in only 3 2/3 innings. “I think it was just one of those days,” said Mlicki, who got no decision. “I struggled to get comfortable out there, and I couldn’t find my location on anything. You’re going to have those types of days from time to time, but the great thing was that the guys really picked me up. Hopefully, I’ll just come out strong the next time.” That has been the pattern with Mlicki this season. He is 5-1 with a 4.31 ERA in his last 13 starts since beginning the season 0-3 with a 7.27 ERA in his first five. “He’s been real solid for us,” Hoffman said. “He obviously didn’t throw too well the last time out, but he’s come through for us consistently. He’s been a real good addition to the team.”


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