Phillies float Backman's name


The thrill of victory still was fresh Saturday night when Wally Backman, one of the key architects of the comeback triumph, pointed out that he wouldn't mind playing somewhere else.

L And the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to float his name.

General manager Lee Thomas has phoned Pirates general manager Larry Doughty and asked whether he has any interest in reacquiring Backman, who hit .292 in 104 games for Pittsburgh last season.

Thomas signed Backman as a free agent during the winter knowing that the infielder would find ways to help win games. The problem is, Backman chose Philadelphia because he thought he'd play regularly at second base. And at the end of spring training, manager Nick Leyva gave him the job against right-handed pitchers.

But that job vanished last week when Leyva was fired.

Rookie Mickey Morandini was promoted from the Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, and Backman was reassigned to substitute status -- spot starter and pinch hitter.

* DODGERS: Orel Hershiser threw 60 pitches in a four-inning simulated game at Dodger Stadium and continued to make progress from last year's shoulder surgery.

He won't throw again for another four or five days.

* REDS: Reliever Rob Dibble threw a baseball into the seats at Riverfront Stadium after getting the final out in a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Dibble gave up five hits and two runs in the last two innings, as he earned his fourth save.

In the middle of receiving congratulations from teammates just behind the mound, Dibble turned and heaved the ball into the stands.

A Reds employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the ball reportedly hit a woman in the arm but didn't injure her seriously. No one was brought to the stadium first-aid room for treatment.

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