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SPECIAL SECTION / BASEBALL 2001 | DODGER REPORT

Brown on Disabled List

April 01, 2001|PAUL GUTIERREZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

As expected, the Dodgers put Kevin Brown and his strained right Achilles' tendon on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, retroactive to March 24, and will recall Luke Prokopec from triple-A Las Vegas.

"I understand their caution, they don't want to risk it," Brown said. "Obviously, I'd rather be pitching. If it was up to me I'd be out there.

"But I'm not the one making the final decision and I can't blame them for their decision, can't fault them. But personally, I'd have done it different."

Because the move is retroactive, Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone said it only knocks Brown back two days, so long as he's ready to take the mound April 8.

"If he's healthy enough to pitch, he'll pitch the 8th," Malone said.

Had Brown not been been moved to the disabled list, he would have started Friday against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Prokopec will pitch in his place that night, though, and Brown will move to Sunday.

If Brown is not ready to go by then, the rotation will be: Chan Ho Park, Eric Gagne, Darren Dreifort, Andy Ashby and Prokopec, until Brown is ready to return.

Brown, 36, had already been scratched from his opening-day start Monday against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, with Park taking his place.

In four Grapefruit League outings this spring, Brown did not earn a decision while compiling a 2.45 earned-run average in 11 innings with eight strikeouts and five walks.

Brown strained the Achilles' tendon on March 23 when he pulled up lame trying to back up third base in an exhibition game at Vero Beach, Fla. He had been bothered by tendinitis after stepping in a hole earlier in spring training.

A second MRI exam of the injury taken Friday afternoon showed improvement but not enough to keep Brown off the disabled list.

*

After seven seasons as the Dodgers' can't-miss catching prospect, Angel Pena has finally made it as a member of the club's opening-day roster.

The fact that Pena is out of options weighed heavily in the Dodgers' decision to carry three catchers, along with Paul LoDuca and Chad Kreuter.

Pena, 26, hopes to finally carry over some of his impressive minor league stats to the big leagues.

Pena's batting average in the minors (.304) is nearly 100 points higher than the average (.211) accrued in two seasons of call-ups.

Pena, a native of the Dominican Republic, has been criticized within the organization for a poor work ethic and a weight gain. Pena, listed at 5 feet 10, 228 pounds, says his troubles came in bridging the language gap from Spanish to English.

"It helps me much more to be able to communicate in English," said Pena, who has worked on his English. "That was my main problem before, not being able to really communicate with anyone, especially with the pitchers."

This spring, Pena batted .394 in 23 games and drove in the winning run Thursday night in Las Vegas and knocked in the go-ahead run Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Notes

Marquis Grissom hit his second home run of the spring, a solo shot, in the seventh inning of the Dodgers' spring-closing 6-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies in front of 26,123 at Dodger Stadium. . . . Ashby gave up two runs on four hits in six innings. He had four strikeouts and one walk. . . . Outfielder Jeff Barry, pitchers Giovanni Carrara and Kip Gross and infielders Jeff Branson and Phil Hiatt were assigned to triple-A Las Vegas. Outfielder Bruce Aven was optioned to Las Vegas and pitcher Yorkis Perez refused a minor league assignment and was granted free agency.

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