Who's on first? Just ask Strawberry

February 07, 1992

Darryl Strawberry apparently believed a simple apology was not enough.

One day after making amends with Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Kal Daniels, Strawberry said he is willing to move from right field to first base so Daniels can regain his spot in the lineup.

So, three months after publicly urging the Dodgers to trade Daniels, Strawberry is willing to change positions to accommodate him?

Although Dodgers officials would not commit to making the switch, Strawberry said he is serious.

"Believe it," he said yesterday.

He is so serious that he has ordered two first baseman's mitts that are expected to arrive today. He will begin working at the position Monday at Dodger Stadium. He has not played there since high school.

"I want to win more than anything, and me playing first base could be the way to win," Strawberry said. "Sure, I could do it. I'm a good athlete. I can play anywhere. First base will take sacrifice, but winning takes sacrifice."

With his voice rising, Strawberry added: "We move Eric [Davis] to right field, put Kal in left field, me at first base. . . . Can you imagine what kind of batting order we would have? That would be one great lineup."

Daniels, who was bumped from the outfield by the trade for Davis, said he appreciated the gesture. But it's not that easy.

"I want to play first first," said Daniels, who has been practicing at the position this week in case he is not traded. "I am surprised to hear Darryl say that, but that is what spring training is all about, experimenting. Still, I have my mind set that I want to give first base a try. Who knows? I could have to play there before my career ends, so why not do it now?"

Manager Tom Lasorda agreed that Daniels would have the first shot at first base.

"We've got to see if he can play there. That is our first priority," Lasorda said. "But if that doesn't work out, I would at least consider Darryl playing there. The fact that he offered shows what kind of young man he is."

The offer both pleased and confused Fred Claire, Dodgers vice president, who was informed of Strawberry's intentions yesterday.

Claire was pleased because, if Strawberry is willing to extend such an olive branch to Daniels, perhaps they could play together and Claire would not have to trade Daniels.

But Claire was also confused because, well. . . .

"We already have one player out of position [Daniels]. I'm not so sure we want to put other players out of position," Claire said. "This would not only move Darryl to a new spot, it would also move Eric to a new spot.

"And right now we have one of the best defensive outfields we have had in a long time. Do we want to break that up?"

* MARINERS: Baseball's ownership committee met yesterday in New York to consider the proposed sale of the Seattle franchise to a Japanese-led group and said it probably wouldn't submit the plan in time for the March meeting of all owners.

The eight-man committee listened to a report from Mariners owner Jeff Smulyan and discussed the situation for approximately two hours, baseball officials said. The sale must be approved by 11 of the 14 American League owners and seven of the 12 National League owners. The committee's recommendation is almost always followed.

"The committee concluded that there is additional information and documentation that needs to be reviewed," committee chairman Fred Kuhlmann of St. Louis said.

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