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EXPOS THINK CORK DESERVES CREDIT FOR HOJO’S 20 HOMERS

SHARE EXPOS THINK CORK DESERVES CREDIT FOR HOJO’S 20 HOMERS

Why is New York Mets third baseman Howard Johnson having such a terrific season? The Montreal Expos suspect it may be because he is using an illegal bat in key situations, such as with runners on or in the late innings.

Wednesday, Montreal Manager Buck Rodgers did what three other managers did in 1987: He asked that Johnson's bat be checked for cork or any other illegal substance.Johnson's bats were never found to be illegal in 1987, when he hit 36 home runs. He has hit 20 homers this year. He groaned about Rodgers and the Expos making his bats an issue again.

"I'm not even going to get into it," he said. "It's senseless."

Rodgers immediately bolted from the dugout. Doug Harvey, the home-plate umpire and crew chief, then took the bat into the umpires' dressing room. Harvey said the bat would be X-rayed Friday in Cincinnati.