STRIKE THREE, DUMMY
Early this season, the Class A Bakersfield Dodgers removed righthander Bill Bene, the No. 5 pick overall in last year's draft, from their starting rotation. It was not because Bene was injured, but because he had walked 29 batters in 13? innings, and the coaching staff thought he needed to pitch some simulated games. After Bene hit the leadoff batter in his first simulated game, the Dodgers decided to take another tack: They bought a plastic mannequin, dressed it in a Dodger uniform and set it up in the bullpen for Bene to pitch to. Bene took to the idea—drawing a mustache on the doll and dubbing it Harold—and he started getting the ball over the plate. Last week the Dodgers shipped Bene to their Class A Salem (Ore.) club with a go-ahead to resume pitching to the real thing.
IN OVER HIS HEAD
During a 5-3 loss to the Pirates on June 15, the Phillies' ambidextrous reliever Greg Harris came into the game wearing his special glove, which is designed to be worn on either hand. "What's that?" asked Pirate base runner Andy Van Slyke, who was on third.
"He's amphibious." replied Phillie third baseman Randy Ready.
"Does that mean he can pitch underwater?" asked Van Slyke.
WRONG YEAR, JOHN
Boston pitcher John Dopson balked four times on June 13, giving him more balks (11) than any pitching staff in the American League. The Red Sox must have taught him some new tricks, because in 1988, the Year of the Balk, he had only one balk in 168? innings for the Expos, the team that led the National League in balks.
THE PRICE OF STARDOM
In March you could get the rookie card of San Francisco slugger Kevin Mitchell (page 36) for 25*2. Now the price has climbed to $6.
Just after Reds general manager Murray Cook called rookie pitcher Scott Scudder to his Los Angeles hotel room on June 12 and told him he was being sent to the minors, an earthquake rattled the hotel. "Does it always shake like this when you send somebody out?" asked Scudder.
?Has second baseman Willie Randolph helped the Dodgers? At week's end they had turned 68 double plays, the second-highest total in the league (the Giants are first with 73). Last year L.A. was 11th in that category.