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Bonilla: Lasorda Didn't Want Me

Bobby Bonilla, his stormy relationship with the Los Angeles Dodgers over after six months, suggests Tommy Lasorda is a divisive presence.

"Tommy didn't want me around because he knew I wouldn't listen to all of his (talk)," the outspoken infielder-outfielder told the Los Angeles Times. "I saw right through all of that, and he knew he better turn around when he saw me (in the clubhouse).

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"He didn't like that, he wants everyone to just sit there and listen to him, and we all know what I'm talking about."

Bonilla's remarks came during an interview at a charity event in Puerto Rico. The Dodgers' offices were closed early Monday and Lasorda, the acting general manager for much of the 1998 season, could not be reached for comment.

Bonilla, who was dealt along with $1 million to the New York Mets for pitcher Mel Rojas, said he was pleased to leave town because "someone out there doesn't like me too much."

Lasorda was considered an unwelcome presence in the clubhouse by many players after he succeeded Fred Claire as general manager on June 22, Bonilla said. It was widely believed Lasorda hastened the firings of Claire and manager Bill Russell by criticizing their performances to team president Bob Graziano and former owner Peter O'Malley, he said.

"Everyone knew what he did. He would be up there (in the owner's box) because that's the way he is. But what's going to be interesting is the first time he tries that with Davey."

Kevin Malone was hired as the Dodgers' permanent GM and hired Davey Johnson, Bonilla's former manager in Baltimore, as manager. Johnson and Bonilla didn't get along, and Johnson is believed to have insisted the Dodgers trade Bonilla.

"I know Davey, I played for him and Davey won't take that, there's no doubt about it," Bonilla said. "And thebetter hope that Davey's wife (Susan) doesn't hear him up there. Trust me, it will be 'on' then."

Lasorda has previously denied undercutting Claire and Russell.

Bonilla also said the Dodgers should be concerned about Sheffield, who waived his no-trade clause with the Florida Marlins on May 15, permitting the seven-player Mike Piazza trade, in part because Bonilla was included in the deal. Before Bonilla was traded, Sheffield said he would be unhappy if Bonilla didn't return.

© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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