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Osuna Might Not Need Elbow Surgery After All

April 22, 1999|STEVE SPRINGER

A strange thing happened to Antonio Osuna on the way to the operating room.

An MRI Wednesday morning revealed that the Dodger right-handed reliever has a bone spur in his right elbow, in roughly the same spot where he had one removed last September.

Osuna was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 18, and surgery was scheduled for this morning.

But by the time Osuna arrived at Dodger Stadium Wednesday afternoon, he noticed a change.

"The elbow was feeling well," he said, "feeling loose."

So Osuna called team physician Frank Jobe.

"I told him, 'Give me two or three days to let me see if I can pitch through,' " Osuna said.

The operation was postponed and Osuna proceeded to softly toss a baseball for 10 minutes without any pain. He will test the elbow from a mound Friday.

"I am concerned," he said. "I didn't think I would have to go through an operation. I feel bad because I have hurt my team."

If Osuna's elbow does require surgery, he will be sidelined six to eight weeks.

The season is a little over two weeks old and Osuna is on the disabled list for the second time. After missing the first 10 games, Osuna made his only appearance of the season last Saturday, pitching a scoreless inning.

Pitchers can continue to throw well despite bone spurs. Dodger trainer Stan Johnston said that former right-hander Bob Welch pitched for years with a bone spur.

"He was doing so well that he didn't want to change anything," Johnson said.


Struggling left-hander Carlos Perez, the fourth man in the rotation, will miss a turn and Darren Dreifort will start Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals, according to pitching coach Charlie Hough.


As expected, the Dodgers have called up 24-year-old left-hander Jeff Kubenka from triple-A Albuquerque to fill Osuna's spot.

While Kubenka was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five relief appearances with Albuquerque, he was 2-1 with two saves and a 2.70 ERA with the Dodgers in the spring.

Kubenka has been very effective against right-handed hitters.

"He told me he hasn't thrown in three days, so he's ready to go nine [innings]," said Manager Davey Johnson with a smile.


Reliever Alan Mills, suffering from soreness under the armpit of his throwing arm, was given the night off.


An old face could be found in a new place Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. Retired center fielder Brett Butler made his debut as an analyst on a Fox telecast of the Dodger-Brave game.

"I feel comfortable because these are two teams I know," said Butler, who played for both clubs.

One month away from the third anniversary of his operation for cancer, Butler says he remains cancer free. When not behind the microphone, he is doing public speaking and has part ownership in a restaurant.


Fox Sports West 2 has added the Dodger-Colorado Rockies night game at Dodger Stadium on July 22 to its schedule. It's a makeup game for the April 11th contest that was rained out.

The two teams were already scheduled to play a July 22 day game on Fox Sports West 2. So, this now becomes the first day-night doubleheader telecast by the network.

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