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Karros Unhappy His Name Isn’t in Lineup

After his wife, Trish, delivered a baby boy Friday night, first baseman Eric Karros caught a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco Saturday morning and made it to Pac Bell Park about two hours before the game, only to find he wasn’t in the starting lineup.

Karros was not happy about it, and he voiced his displeasure during a closed-door meeting with Manager Jim Tracy, who chose to keep Tyler Houston at first and Adrian Beltre at third after both had four hits and four runs batted in during Friday night’s 11-6 win over the Giants. Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek also had four hits.

“It’s very difficult to take the game away from a guy who had four hits the night before,” Tracy said. “Plus, I don’t know how much rest [Karros] got, and I don’t want him to get hurt. He did not agree with the decision, and that tickles me to death. I don’t expect them to be totally content with my decisions.”

Karros started last Sunday night, a day after getting hit in the face with a Felix Rodriguez 97-mph fastball, so he couldn’t understand why Tracy would be so protective Saturday.

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“Four hits from three different players apparently is a little more potent than a Felix Rodriguez fastball,” Karros said. “I would like to play. It’s a San Francisco game, and I hate to miss a San Francisco game.”

Tracy’s decision probably didn’t sit well with Mrs. Karros, either. “I told the wife I gotta go play,” Karros said. “When she sees I’m not in the lineup ... “

She’ll react the same way Karros will when his name isn’t in future lineups. Tracy said Saturday that Houston will spell Karros at first as well as Beltre at third.

Asked if he had three players--Karros, Beltre and Houston--to play two positions, Tracy said, “Yes, we do. Tyler is not going to play seven days week, though. There will not be a controversy over playing time between Karros, Beltre and Houston.”

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Left fielder Brian Jordan said the Dodgers received “a good slashing” during a team meeting before Friday night’s win, when Tracy implored his hitters to concentrate on having better at-bats and to work the counts more.

The thrust of Tracy’s message: Don’t swing at so many first pitches. The Dodgers had been getting themselves out too often in the two weeks after the All-Star break, swinging at too many marginal first offerings.

“When was the last time you saw us get into a team’s long man or middle relief,” Tracy said. “When the starter has 65 pitches in the sixth inning, you won’t see the middle relievers because you’ve taken so many early swings.

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“I’m not against first-pitch swinging. What I’m advocating is that if you’re going to hit that first pitch, the ball should be blistered, unless it’s a situational at-bat. To go up there with no one on base and hit a roller to the shortstop or a tapper to the mound, what kind of an at-bat is that?”

One that usually comes under duress, Jordan said.

“When guys start to press, when they’re trying to be the hero, that happens,” he said.

TODAY

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DODGERS’

ANDY ASHBY

(7-8, 3.99 ERA)

vs.

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GIANTS’

JASON SCHMIDT

(5-5, 3.72 ERA)

Pac Bell Park, San Francisco, 1

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TV--Channel 13.

Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).

Update--Ashby is 1-2 with a 7.22 ERA in his last six starts. Tracy said Karros, who has a .441 (15 for 34) average against Schmidt, will play first base today, and Beltre, who is hitting .364 (four for 11) against Schmidt, will play third.


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