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DODGERS NOTES

Perez to Refuse Option

May 30, 2000|JASON REID

Pitcher Carlos Perez, believing he has proved himself, was adamant Monday that he will not extend the agreement that temporarily enabled the Dodgers to send him to the minor leagues.

The Dodgers persuaded Perez to accept their unusual request May 1 to give them more time to evaluate him. The soft-throwing left-hander was approaching five years of service time, and the collective bargaining agreement gives players the right to refuse being optioned to the minors at that point.

If the Dodgers had tried to send Perez to the minors and he refused, the club would have been forced to release him and pay the remainder of his $15.6-million contract. The Dodgers agreed to keep Perez on the 25-man roster until Wednesday in exchange for his cooperation.

But Perez has told the Dodgers is opposed to waiving his right again. He now has the necessary service time to prevent the team from sending him to triple-A Albuquerque, putting the Dodgers in a position where they must make a decision on Perez by Wednesday.

"They [team officials] know I've pitched good and I've done my job. Everything is going good. I'm really happy I'm helping my team. I'm staying here. This is where I'm going to be."

Perez has pitched better than expected. He is 4-2 with a 5.40 earned-run average and has only two abysmal starts among nine overall.

That's a big improvement from last season. Perez went 2-10 with a 7.43 ERA and finished at Albuquerque.

Yet the Dodger doubts remain, despite being encouraged about Perez.

General Manager Kevin Malone said Perez couldn't have impressed more, but declined to discuss the extension.

Malone has previously said the Dodgers would seek another extension. Not surprisingly, the club wants the ability to move Perez to Albuquerque if he struggles in upcoming starts.

Malone also said that releasing Perez--making $5 million this season and $7.5 million next--is not a option. So if Perez refuses to extend the agreement, the Dodgers may be forced to keep him on the roster.

"This is where I'm staying," Perez said. "I want to be out there every fifth day helping my team. Whenever they put me out there I'm going to do my best. This is where I'm going to be pitching."

*

As expected, third baseman Adrian Beltre was put on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, after suffering a strained right hamstring. Utilityman Adam Melhuse was promoted from Albuquerque to take Beltre's spot on the 25-man roster.

"It's pretty bad right now," said Beltre, on the disabled list the first time in his career. "I can't even walk on it, so we'll just have to wait and see how fast I can [heal]."

To make room for Melhuse on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers moved minor league pitcher Jeff Williams from the 15- to 60-day disabled list.

Alex Cora was the Dodgers' first option to replace Beltre, but the smooth-fielding middle infielder has been slowed by a strained rib cage. Manager Davey Johnson said that Cora, optioned to Albuquerque on May 21, might replace Melhuse on the roster later this week.

*

The Dodgers' Mark Grudzielanek left the game in the seventh inning Monday after being hit on his left elbow by a pitch from Met starter Al Leiter. Grudzielanek said he plans to wear protective padding on his elbow after being hit with pitches several times recently. . . . After taking batting practice, center fielder Devon White said he isn't closer to determining whether he can return this season. He has been on the disabled list since May 5 because of a partial tear of his his left rotator cuff. . . . Dodger right fielder Shawn Green has become the spokesman for KOREH L.A.: The Los Angeles Jewish Coalition for Literacy. The program trains volunteers to assist elementary school students with reading.

TONIGHT

DODGERS' ERIC GAGNE (0-3, 4.33 ERA) vs. METS' BOBBY JONES (1-1, 9.68 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 7

TV--Channel 5. Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).

* Update--Gagne lost his previous start last Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium. He gave up three runs in six innings in the Reds' 3-1 victory. In his career, Jones is 2-1 with a 4.14 ERA against the Dodgers.

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