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Thursday, September 23, 2004
Updated: September 25, 12:47 AM ET
First baseman will sit out Saturday's game

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Shawn Green will sit out Saturday afternoon's game against the San Francisco Giants in observance of Yom Kippur.

The first baseman-outfielder said he will play Friday night when the Dodgers and Giants, battling for the NL West lead, play the opener of a three-game series in San Francisco.

Shawn Green
First Base
Los Angeles Dodgers
148 27 81 85 4 .267

"Everyone approaches their worship in their own way and goes about it differently," Green said before the slumping Dodgers played the San Diego Padres on Thursday night. "Playing one of the two is the most consistent with my beliefs as a Jewish person."

When asked to explain, Green said: "I'm not orthodox. I am Jewish and I respect the customs, and I feel like this is the most consistent way for me to celebrate the holiday."

The Dodgers, who've lost seven of their last 10 games, entered Thursday night's action with a half-game lead over the Giants and a 4-game lead over the Padres.

Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, starts at sunset Friday with the Kol Nidre service. Saturday's game was given a 1:05 p.m. PT start because it will be televised by Fox, and the Jewish Day of Atonement does not end until sunset that night.

Asked why he picked Friday as the day to play instead of Saturday, Green said: "I just feel like personally that's the best way I can respect the holiday and the way that I'm going to do it."

Earlier Thursday, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said Green had the support of the team no matter what he decided to do.

"It's a personal decision, and it's his decision to make," McCourt said.

Green struggled with the issue for several days, and spoke with his wife, parents and grandmother before making his decision.

"I woke up this morning feeling good about it," he said.

Green said his teammates and others in the organization were supportive. He told manager Jim Tracy of his decision several hours before Thursday night's game.

Tracy said he didn't have a reaction, "because I don't delve into people's religious practices, their beliefs. I have no interest in making a comment about something I'm not totally versed on, the Jewish faith, and how exactly all that works. I'm aware of some of the things of it, but no other comment beyond that."

Green has missed only 10 of 799 games in five seasons with the Dodgers, including Sept. 26, 2001, when he observed Yom Kippur and ended a streak of 415 consecutive games played.

Green, 31, entered Thursday night's game with a .267 batting average, 27 homers and 81 RBI.