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Nomo Out But Not Down In L.A.

Hideo Nomo's career with the Los Angeles Dodgers came to an abrupt halt today when the team removed the Japanese right-hander from the roster.

Nomo's agent, Don Nomura, met with Dodgers general manager Fred Claire on Sunday and asked for a move to be made.

"We'll be talking to many teams, perhaps all teams," Claire said. There is a time frame. That being said, there is also a great demand for pitching."

Nomo, who put Japan on the major league map in 1995 when he signed a contract with the Dodgers and became an immediate star, was just 2-7 with a 5.05 ERA this season.

Los Angeles designated Nomo for assignment. The move removes him from the Dodgers' 40-man roster immediately. The team has 10 days to either trade or assign the 29-year pitcher, or seven days to place him on unconditional release waivers.

Nomo said little during a brief news conference. But, through an interpreter, he said it was true he "definitely needed a change of scenery, a change of environment," and that the boos he heard Saturday were not significant.

"I'm truly grateful for everything the Dodgers did provide me, with an opportunity to fulfill a dream."

Nomo was the 1995 NL Rookie of the Year and struck out 500 faster than any other pitcher, accomplishing the feat in 444 2-3 innings. But he's stumbled of late and was booed in his most recent start against Cincinnati on Saturday. Nomo allowed six runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings.

Nomo has lost four straight decisions, and he has allowed 18 earned runs in his last 26 2-3 innings.

"Hideo had expressed the thought that it would be best to make a move," Claire said. "This was the best move to accommodate that request."

Nomo is signed through the end of the season and is earning $2.7 million this year his fourth in the big leagues.

"Maybe a change of scenery would be beneficial for Hideo," said Nomura, who cited recent trade rumors, causing his client to want to pitch somewhere else. "Just a change in the environment."

To fill Nomo's roster spot, the Dodgers purchased the contract of 25-year-old left-hander Gary Rath from Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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