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Fernando Valenzuela and Bob Ojeda made their pitch on Saturday for a return to the starting rotation in 1989.

Valenzuela made his spring debut with Los Angeles by throwing batting practice at Vero Beach, Fla. Valenzuela, who missed virtually the last two months of the 1988 season with weakness in his pitching shoulder, threw for 12 minutes in the Dodgers' main workout stadium.

"Everything went fine," Valenzuela said. "No problem."

What impressed Valenzuela's pitching coach most was the fact his mechanics were sound and he was able to throw all of his pitches, including screwballs and curveballs.

"Fernando looked very good today," pitching coach Ron Perranoski said. "He had another day of throwing the ball free and easy."

Ojeda, who nearly severed the tip of his middle finger in a gardening accident last September, reported no pain Saturday while throwing batting practice for the New York Mets.

"It's (the finger) 100 percent," Ojeda said. "I feel absolutely no pain."

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said he was encouraged by Ojeda's progress. He said the pitcher was throwing easily and besting the batters.

On Sept. 21, New York was on the verge of clinching the National League East title at home against Philadelphia. Before leaving for the park and a possible celebration, Ojeda decided to do some gardening with an electric hedge clipper.

He lost control of the clippers and the blades cut through both the bottom and top arteries and tendons of the finger. The joint was also shattered.

Ojeda underwent five hours of microsurgery at Roosevelt Hospital, and Dr. Richard Eaton reattached the damaged arteries, tendons and nerves.

Camp News

Three Cincinnati players with visa problems were missing again Saturday, and General Manager Murray Cook said he didn't expect them to be able to report any sooner than Monday. Catcher Bo Diaz, infielder Manny Trillo and pitcher Luis Vasquez all have been unable to get their U.S. visas to enter the United States. Cook said bureaucratic delays by the government were to blame.

Von Hayes and Chris James worked out at third base Saturday as Philadelphia manager Nick Leyva kept a wary eye on the comeback of Mike Schmidt. With Schmidt returning from September's arthroscopic surgery on a torn rotator cuff, Leyva wants both James and Hayes ready should the future Hall of Famer be unable to play, whether it be for for the short-or long-term.

Medical Report

- Atlanta's Dale Murphy got his left ring finger jammed in a door during Friday's practice and had some blood drained from the nail. He practiced with a bandage on the finger without any problems on Saturday.

- Kansas City outfielder Danny Tartabull has a knuckle injury that will keep him from swinging a bat for a couple of weeks. Tartabull chipped a bone in the knuckle of his right index finger while ejecting a trespasser from his beachfront property in California. He says the knuckle is healing nicely, but as a precaution he still can't bend it for another week to 10 days.