Advertisement

Beltre Anxiously Waiting for Done Deal

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Adrian Beltre said Friday that he has been frustrated because contract discussions between the Dodgers and his agent have taken longer than he expected.

The third baseman said he hopes an agreement on a three-year contract can be reached today--the major league player-signing deadline--because the situation has been distracting.

“Oh, yeah, no question about it,” Beltre said Friday afternoon after the Houston Astros’ 7-4 victory over the Dodgers at Osceola County Stadium.

“I’m a little anxious about it, a little nervous. I just want to know what’s going to happen. I want to be here and play and just know.”

Advertisement

Dodger Chairman Bob Daly and Beltre’s agent, Scott Boras, have been negotiating for weeks.

The Dodgers were punished by the commissioner’s office for violating major league rules in signing Beltre before his 16th birthday, but they retained his rights. Boras, through a grievance process, is trying to have Beltre declared a free agent.

The Dodgers last week offered Beltre $4-5 million for three years, which would put him among the highest-paid players in history with less than two full seasons in the majors. Boras is believed to be seeking $8 million.

Beltre was scheduled to speak with Boras late Friday. The club will renew Beltre’s contract at about $330,000 if a deal is not reached today, and the arbitration process will unfold.

Advertisement

“I just didn’t think it would take this long,” said Beltre, who has been counseled by coach Manny Mota.

"[The negotiations] should have been for two days. Then it went for four days, then six days and you see how far it can go. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. I still don’t know.”

*

Gary Sheffield hit a solo home run in the first inning off his uncle, Dwight Gooden.

Advertisement

“I just relaxed after the first couple of times I faced him [in his career], rather than trying to get bragging rights for life,” said the all-star outfielder, who has six singles in 21 regular-season at-bats against Gooden.

“When you’re a kid, your uncle is just dominating people. Everybody was overmatched. It took me 31 years to get to the point where I can hit the ball and feel confident.”

And how did his uncle react?

“He’s mad at me,” Sheffield said, smiling. “I can’t tell you what he was calling me when he was doing his sprints [after the game.]”

Advertisement

*

The battle between incumbent center fielder Devon White and challenger Todd Hollandsworth is getting interesting.

White robbed Randall Simon of a grand slam Thursday in an 8-7 loss to the Atlanta Braves, continuing to perform like a guy who owns seven Gold Gloves. Even at 37, White remains among the best at his position.

Batting in the leadoff spot Friday, Hollandsworth scored a run and went three for three with a run-scoring triple. He has displayed the batting patience Manager Davey Johnson wants to see.

Advertisement

White will be the opening-day center fielder if Johnson wants the best fielder in the role. Hollandsworth will get the job if offense is the key.

*

The Dodgers dropped to 1-9 with Friday’s loss. Although spring training games really don’t matter, the Dodgers aren’t exactly inspiring confidence after a 77-85 season. . . . Rookie left-hander Jeff Williams suffered a setback in his bid to earn a spot in the bullpen. Williams gave up four hits and five runs in 2 2/3 innings, dropping to 0-2.

Shortstop Alex Cora, competing for the everyday job, went two for three with a run. Cora was hitless in his first nine Grapefruit League at-bats. . . . Reliever Antonio Osuna, recovering from elbow surgery, is progressing faster than expected, Johnson said.

Advertisement


Advertisement
Advertisement