In first test since surgery, Gooden strong National League notes

March 16, 1992

Dwight Gooden passed his first test since shoulder surgery last September by pitching three strong innings yesterday in a B game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gooden allowed one run -- unearned -- and three hits, struck out two and walked none. He threw 36 pitches.

"There was no pain at all," said Gooden, who last Sept. 7 underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in the rotator cuff and a tear in the labrum. "I was very happy with what took place today."

Gooden estimated that he threw at about 80 percent of the strength he had before the surgery, although one fastball was clocked at 92 mph.

* BRAVES: Nick Esasky, the first baseman sidelined for nearly two years because of vertigo, was 0-for-3 in a B game in his first appearance this spring.

"I'm tired, but I've got to get it moving, get it rolling," Esasky said after Atlanta's 3-1 victory over the Montreal Expos.

Esasky played the entire game. He grounded out to shortstop, took a called third strike and popped to second.

* EXPOS: Tim Wallach, upset at being shifted from third base to first base this spring, has asked Montreal to trade him. Wallach made his request in a meeting with team management on Saturday, and repeated it after yesterday's 8-7 victory over Atlanta.

The New York Yankees, Los Angeles and California have recently talked to Montreal about Wallach. But both Wallach and the Expos doubted a deal would get done.

"Not necessarily, no," Wallach said. "I told them how I feel and what I want. I just want to get on with whatever is going to happen. This has been going on three weeks."

Expos general manager Dan Duquette said he "would talk to teams, but not with much enthusiasm."

* CARDINALS: In its second roster reduction, St. Louis sent pitchers Brian Barber, Allen Watson and John Ericks, first baseman John Sellick and outfielders Lonnie Maclin and John hTC Thomas to their minor-league camp for assignment.

* PIRATES: Andy Van Slyke returned to the lineup. However, it did little to alleviate manager Jim Leyland's concerns over his club's injury situation.

After missing seven games with lower back pain, Van Slyke started in center field and was 0-for-3, as Pittsburgh lost to the Detroit Tigers, 4-2. Van Slyke was removed after five innings.

Left fielder Barry Bonds missed his ninth straight game with a strained left hamstring. Utility player Lloyd McClendon has yet to play after separating his left shoulder during an outfield drill on Feb. 28.

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