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Osuna to Pitch Through Spur Pain

May 08, 1999|MIKE PENNER

Dodger coach Rick Dempsey was climbing down the dugout steps after batting practice Friday evening when he noticed team physician Frank Jobe seated on the bench surrounded by reporters.

"What'd you do now?" Dempsey called over to Jobe. "Turn a right-hander into a left-hander?"

Jobe laughed.

"I must have," replied Jobe, peering over the cluster of note pads.

Actually, the topic of discussion was much more mundane than that: another pitcher with another bone spur--in this case, reliever Antonio Osuna.

"It's a small one," Jobe said of the spur. "It's in the same area as the previous one [Osuna underwent surgery last August to remove the first spur]. It gives him a problem when he straightens his arm and the spur pinches in the back of the socket."

Jobe said the bone spur will eventually require surgery, but for the time being, Osuna has elected to grit his teeth and pitch through the pain. He threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday in Montreal.

"It's not uncommon for pitchers [to continue pitching with a bone spur]," Jobe said. "If you X-rayed every pitcher in the major leagues, you'd find a lot of spurs out there. A lot of pitchers pitch without even knowing they have one. They may get stiff elbows from time to time, but it doesn't stop them from pitching."

In the meantime, Osuna's condition creates a problem for Manager Davey Johnson, who admitted Friday he is still trying to figure out the best way to deploy the relief pitcher without aggravating the elbow.

"I'm prepared to do anything to make sure," said Johnson, who once nursed a sore-armed reliever, Roger McDowell, through an entire season with the New York Mets by using him as he would a starter--pitching him every fifth day.

With Osuna, Johnson's initial game plan will be a simple one.

"I'm not going to pitch him on back-to-back days," he said.


Because of the uncertainty over Osuna's elbow and Carlos Perez's knee, the Dodgers recalled right-handed reliever Mike Maddux from Class-A San Bernardino. Maddux will fill the roster vacancy created when outfielder Jacob Brumfield was waived and claimed Friday by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Maddux, 37, who was 0-0 with a 3.00 earned-run average and two saves in five relief appearances with San Bernardino, pitched two scoreless innings against Florida on Friday night. The brother of Atlanta's Greg Maddux, Maddux has a career major league record of 36-34 with a 4.03 ERA and 20 saves in 14 seasons with eight teams--including a brief stint with the Dodgers in 1990.

Brumfield, 33, batted .294 in 18 games as the Dodgers' fifth outfielder.

Johnson said the move was made because he felt the Dodgers were "heavy" on the bench and more in need of added pitching depth.


Johnson held second baseman Eric Young out of the starting lineup for one more day, not eager for Young to test his sore right calf muscle by stepping in against a knuckleball pitcher, the Marlins' Dennis Springer.

Young understood the logic, if he wasn't altogether thrilled by the waiting game.

"I don't like sitting out at all," Young said with a laugh. "I get on too many people's nerves."

Young did some extensive running Friday and said he expects to be in the lineup tonight.

"That's what we're shooting for," he said.





Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m.

TV--Fox Sports West 2.

Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).

* Update--Brown is winless against the Marlins, the team he helped pitch to the World Series championship in 1997. In two starts against Florida in 1998, Brown, then with San Diego, went 0-1 with a 4.26 earned-run average. He enters this start coming off a pounding in Philadelphia on Sunday, yielding six runs in six innings during a 12-3 defeat. The outing marked the only the seventh time in his last 127 starts that Brown had given up six or more earned runs. Hernandez is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

* Tickets--(323) 224-1HIT.

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