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"It will be fun to come to the

Associated Press Published: December 11, 1997 12:00 AM

"It will be fun to come to the ballpark," Hershiser, once a member of the NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers, said Wednesday during a telephone conference call. "I just think it adds to the spice of the game. It's just another thing I can use as a stimulus."

Hershiser, a 14-year major league veteran and 1988 Cy Young Award winner, was 14-6 for the Cleveland Indians last season.

The 39-year-old right-hander thinks he can provide some leadership for younger Giants pitchers.

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"People can learn through leading by example," Hershiser said. "I come in early and get my work done."

While admitting that his hard curveball has lost some velocity, Hershiser said he's added a cutter, slider and changeup. Hershiser said he also pitches more methodically these days.

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"There are times in the season when you sprint, and there are times when you approach it like a marathon," Hershiser said.

He thanked the Giants for extending his career, and addressed the reservations some clubs have signing an older pitcher whose best days may be behind him.

"Ball clubs don't want to be there when the music stops," Hershiser said. "They don't want be there holding the bag."

Hershiser, who made $3.1 million last season, gets a $250,000 signing bonus and a $3 million salary, of which $1 million is deferred. In addition, he can earn a bonus of $10,000 per inning for each inning starting with 156.

San Francisco has a 1999 option for $3.25 million plus 1998 performance bonuses earned and must pay a $200,000 buyout if it's not exercised. But if Hershiser pitches 176 innings or more next season, he has the right to terminate the contract and forfeit the buyout.

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