The Los Angeles Dodgers, whose pitching ranks near the top in the National League, nonetheless took what club Vice President Fred Claire called a gamble and agreed to hire veteran pitcher Mario Soto, recently released by the Cincinnati Reds after failing to fully recover from major shoulder surgery that he had 1986.

Soto, 31, was 3-7 with an earned-run average of 4.66 in 14 starts when the Reds released him June 16. Once one of baseball's dominant pitchers, Soto underwent surgery on his right shoulder late in the 1986 season and missed nearly all of the 1987 season.