Murray denied extension, may become free agent Notes

March 08, 1991

Eddie Murray, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Most Valuable Player last season, has been denied a request for a contract extension, and Murray is considering leaving the team when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Murray's representatives told the Dodgers that if the team did not grant him an extension by the end of spring training, he would be unwilling to negotiate this season and probably would test free agency next winter.

Murray, 35, is in the final year of a five-year contract that will pay him $2.8 million this season.

He had the highest batting average in the major leagues last season at .330 and hit 26 home runs, running his total to 379, tied with the Baltimore Orioles' Dwight Evans for most among active major-leaguers.

Neither Fred Claire, Dodgers vice president, nor Ron Shapiro, Murray's agent, would comment.

* ATHLETICS: American League Most Valuable Player Rickey Henderson showed up at training camp, saying his one-day absence was due to a missed airplane, not his salary dispute with the team.

"I don't think it's really a statement," he said of his absence as the team's regulars opened training Wednesday. "I missed one day. If I'm going to make a statement, I'll make it in the middle of the season. I think they know what I'm saying."

Henderson is upset that the A's haven't been willing to renegotiate the four-year, $12 million contract he signed before the start of last season.

* PHILLIES: Right-hander Ken Howell, 30, the team's No. 1 starting pitcher, will undergo surgery Thursday for the removal of a bone spur on his throwing shoulder and be out at least until June.

* RED SOX: Roger Clemens, baseball's $21.5 million man, was tagged for five runs and five hits in two innings in an exhibition game with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Clemens, whose 1.93 ERA was lowest in the major leagues last season, put 29 of 34 pitches over the plate.

"Right now, there's no reason for me to try to punch guys out or throw on the corners," he said.

Boston manager Joe Morgan, who had considered using Clemens for three innings, lifted him after Pittsburgh batted around.

Clemens wore No. 24, a tribute to Dwight Evans, who was released by the Red Sox after last season. Clemens plans to wear his usual No. 21 when the season starts.

* WINTER HAVEN: The City Commission, acting at the request of the Polk County Commission, voted, 4-1, in favor of continuing negotiations with the Pirates, rather than trying to renew talks with the Red Sox, tenants since 1966.

The Pirates, who are leaving Bradenton, are close to a long-term agreement with Winter Haven. The Red Sox plan to move to an undetermined Florida site in 1992.

* DODGERS: Orel Hershiser's recovery continued when he pitched two innings of a simulated game, after which he said he could, if necessary, start the season in the bullpen.

Hershiser, the 1988 Cy Young Award winner, said, however, it is more likely he would begin the season as a starter in the minor leagues.

* ANGELS: Pitcher Mark Langston was struck in the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Fred Manrique during an intrasquad game. Trainers described the injury as a deep bruise.

* REDS: Catcher Joe Oliver ended his two-day walkout and returned to camp. Pitcher Jack Armstrong, however, said he would continue to stay away until his contract is changed.

Oliver said he wanted to avoid a $500-a-day fine that would have begun yesterday. Oliver was renewed for $185,000 and Armstrong for $215,000.

* CARDINALS: Pitcher Bryn Smith, beginning his second year with the club, will start Opening Day.

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