Brett Butler plans to wait until the end of spring training before deciding whether to continue his comeback from cancer of the tonsils.
Butler joined the Dodgers pitchers and catchers during the team’s first workouts at Vero Beach, Fla.
“If I go 4 for 4 one day, it doesn’t mean I’m going to play. And if I go 0 for 4, it doesn’t mean I’m going to retire,” Butler said. “This is a six-week evaluation. My goal is to play a 150-game season and to win a world championship.”
Butler, 39, underwent surgery last May to remove a tumor from his tonsils along with lymph nodes.
He began six weeks of radiation treatment June 17 and rejoined the team Aug. 26. He played just two weeks before missing the rest of the season because of a broken bone in his right hand. He finished the season with a .267 average in 34 games.
“He’ll know before anybody else if he can play or can’t play,” Dodgers manager Bill Russell said. “Right now he’s our leadoff hitter and center fielder, and it will be that way unless he proves to himself he can’t do it.”
Butler, who has a career average of .291 with 2,278 hits, still produces no saliva, a side-effect of chemotherapy and surgery, and said he feels numbness from his jaw to his collarbone.
Johnson tries the mound
Seattle’s Randy Johnson threw from the mound - a few feet in from of the pitching rubber - for the first time since last August, and quickly loosened up, throwing hard.
Once the dominating lefty determines how his back responds to the first effort, he’ll tell the team when he’ll throw next.
Dykstra comeback unlikely
There hadn’t been much hope anyway, but Philadelphia Phillies owner Bill Giles has all but ruled out a comeback this season by centerfielder Lenny Dykstra.
“He’s not necessarily through forever, but nobody thinks he’ll play this year,” Giles said.
Dykstra, the leadoff hitter and sparkplug on Philadelphia’s 1993 pennant-winners, underwent back surgery last July to alleviate intense pain that forced him out of the lineup each of the last two seasons.
The Disney look
The Disney-fication of the Angels continued last week.
Since assuming operational control of the franchise from Gene and Jackie Autry last year, Disney Sports Enterprises Inc. has flooded Anaheim Stadium with cheerleaders and relentless loud music, changed the team’s name (California is now the Anaheim Angels), changed the team’s logo (something called the “Winged A”), and started a $100 million stadium renovation.
The team has unveiled uniforms which Disney marketing experts hope will have the merchandising sales impact achieved by the NHL’s Mighty Ducks. The Angels’ new uniforms are white and road gray with navy pinstripes and socks.
There also is an alternate jersey, the one Disney hopes will do for periwinkle what the San Jose Sharks and Florida Marlins did for teal. The jersey is solid navy with periwinkle sleeves (periwinkle is a sort of baby blue and lavender hybrid). The caps are navy and periwinkle.
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