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Drive Hits Gagne in Leg

Times Staff Writer

Closer Eric Gagne, who had sat out two weeks because of a sprained lower back, was struck with a line drive Monday during a 4-1 exhibition loss to the Montreal Expos at Holman Stadium.

On a 3-and-1 pitch, Scott Hodges, the first batter Gagne faced since being sidelined, sent a liner off the All-Star right-hander’s right calf. Gagne, who suffered a bruise, wanted to continue pitching but was overruled by Manager Jim Tracy.

“It was right on the calf,” said Gagne, who had pitched only two innings before Monday’s game. “They wrapped it and put some ice on it; just trying to keep swelling down. I’ll pitch Thursday. It’s a little stiff, but it’ll be all right.”

With the Dodgers off today, Tracy wants Gagne to get some rest.

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“He wanted to continue,” Tracy said. “But that wouldn’t have made any sense on March 17 in the Grapefruit League.”

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Center fielder Dave Roberts has sat out the last two games after suffering a left hip injury Saturday while diving on the hard surface at Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City.

“It was on a drive by [the New York Mets’ Roberto] Alomar in the left-center gap,” Roberts said. “I really don’t think it’s a big deal.”

Roberts, who took batting practice Monday, hopes to return to the lineup Wednesday.

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Darren Dreifort (1-1) gave up six hits and two runs in four innings against the Expos. The right-hander, impressive this spring in his bid to rejoin the rotation, had six strikeouts and walked two.... The Dodgers claimed middle infielder Gookie Dawkins, a career .167 hitter, on waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. A smooth fielder, Dawkins plays shortstop and second equally well, Tracy said. Dawkins, who is out of options, will report to major league camp.... Reliever Guillermo Mota, suspended five games Monday and fined $1,500 for his role in last week’s bench-clearing brawl with the New York Mets, gave up a two-run homer to Valentino Pascucci in the seventh inning.


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