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Reuss to Undergo Elbow Surgery : Struggling Dodger Left-Hander Will Be Out Five Weeks

July 16, 1986|GORDON EDES | Times Staff Writer

If the numbers were different, and Jerry Reuss were on track to win the 15 to 18 games he had predicted for himself this spring, then there probably would be no surgery scheduled for next week.

But there have been just two wins, the fastball has been dead, and Reuss has been banished to the bullpen. The Dodger left-hander decided that he could no longer afford the luxury of waiting.

So next Tuesday, Reuss will undergo arthroscopic surgery for removal of a bone spur in his left elbow, the third operation he has undergone in the last three years.

The Dodgers said Tuesday that Reuss, 37, had been put on the 21-day disabled list. Taking his place on the roster is left-hander Dennis Powell, who started the season with the Dodgers but has been in Albuquerque since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow in May.

Powell, 22, was 0-3 with a 5.84 earned-run average as a Dodger. In seven starts at Albuquerque, he had a 3-3 record and a 4.10 ERA.

Said Reuss, who has won 194 games: "I knew coming out of spring training that (the bone spur) was there, but how it would affect me remained to be seen."

He can't say for sure, of course, that the bone spur is responsible for the way he has pitched.

"We're going to find out," he said. "To continue as I was wasn't doing anybody good, myself or the team."

Reuss said that it was his decision to have the surgery now.

"I've talked about it with Dr. (Frank) Jobe for the last week or so," Reuss said. "He said he thought it was a wise decision. He said, 'Let's get it, and take it from there.' "

The Dodgers estimate that Reuss will be out for five weeks. Reuss said he hopes to be back by September, or the end of August, but added that there is no way to determine how long it will take to recover.

"It's been tough all year," said Reuss, who won only five games in 1984 after undergoing off-season arthroscopy on his elbow. After the '84 season, he had surgery to remove bone spurs from both heels.

"We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll be throwing like I did in the past. I threw pretty good last year."

Reuss was 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA last season. This season, he is 2-6 with a 5.87 ERA.

Reuss will accompany the Dodgers to St. Louis for a four-game series with the Cardinals this weekend, then will return to Los Angeles for the surgery.

This is the 11th injury this season suffered by a Dodger that has required putting a player on the disabled list.

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