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Lasorda Works Phones in His Quest for Deals

The clock is ticking toward Friday’s trading deadline, and Tom Lasorda isn’t wasting a second.

The Dodgers’ interim general manager continued to juggle phones Tuesday in pursuit of starting pitchers and position players. Lasorda has been working at a dizzying pace for weeks in an effort to bolster the team for the stretch run in the National League wild-card race--while simultaneously trying to reduce the team’s $57-million payroll.

“I have been talking to a lot of people, because we’re trying to get a lot done,” Lasorda said. “A lot of general managers have called me about our players, and we’re listening to everyone.”

Lasorda has declined to discuss pending deals, but several sources said Tuesday that the Dodgers are close to acquiring left-hander Carlos Perez of the Montreal Expos for prospects. Lasorda has had many conversations with Montreal General Manager Jim Beattie about Perez, who broke his nose Sunday night in a traffic accident.

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Montreal, in its annual salary-purge mode, doesn’t want established major leaguers for Perez, who is the team’s second-highest-paid player at $1.5 million this season. The Dodgers have the lower-level prospects to make the deal, so the ball is in Lasorda’s court on that one.

Lasorda is also pursuing Toronto Blue Jay right-hander Juan Guzman. The price for him would include major leaguers, and Lasorda isn’t opposed to moving established players, especially those with multiyear deals.

Lasorda isn’t actively pursuing Seattle left-hander Randy Johnson. He wants flexibility to pursue free agents in the off-season. He figures he can’t shop as he pleases with the Dodgers’ current payroll.

He would be pleased if third baseman-left fielder Bobby Bonilla were playing elsewhere after the deadline, because Bonilla is under contract for two more seasons at $11.8 million. The Dodgers probably would have to pay some of the rest of Bonilla’s deal.

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Second baseman Eric Young also isn’t secure, because he is signed for three more seasons at $4.5 million annually. Lasorda would like to swap second basemen with the Baltimore Orioles, acquiring all-star Roberto Alomar.

There has been speculation that Lasorda will try to reacquire Mike Piazza from the New York Mets, but sources said Piazza won’t return to the team. And Lasorda, contrary to reports, isn’t willing to trade second baseman Wilton Guerrero.

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Young was eligible to be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, but he continues to be sidelined because of a right quadriceps strain. Team officials hope Young will be ready Friday when the Dodgers begin a four-game series against the Mets.

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Catcher Charles Johnson didn’t accompany the team on the start of the 10-game trip because his wife, Rhonda, gave birth to a son late Sunday night in Los Angeles. Johnson is expected to rejoin the Dodgers today.

TONIGHT

DODGERS’

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DAVE MLICKI

(5-4, 4.89 ERA)

vs.

PHILLIES’

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CARLTON LOEWER

(4-3, 7.20 ERA)

Veterans Stadium, 4:30 PDT

TV--ESPN. Radio--AM 1150, KWKW (1330)

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* Update--Mlicki is 4-0 with a 4.07 earned-run average in nine starts as a Dodger. He got no decision in his last outing Thursday against Houston, despite being charged with only two runs in seven innings.


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