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Springer Gets Ticket for a Return to Vegas

July 27, 2001|Bill Shaikin

There wasn't much Dennis Springer could do to save his job. The Dodgers added the veteran knuckleballer to their starting rotation until they could trade for an established starter and, when they acquired James Baldwin from the Chicago White Sox Thursday for three minor leaguers, they thanked Springer for his work and handed him a return ticket to triple-A Las Vegas.

Baldwin will start in Springer's place Sunday.

"I was thinking, if I could get through Tuesday [the trading deadline], I'd feel better," Springer said. "But I can't be negative. This is something to help the team. I felt very good about being here. This was a good situation and I had a good time. Hopefully, I can get back here--if not before September, then in September."

Springer, 36, started two games for the Dodgers. He won one, the team won both, and he impressed his employers in the process.

"Springer was more than we expected," pitching coach Jim Colborn said. "He proved he could help the team."

The Dodgers were happy to acquire Baldwin and downright giddy about completing the deal without surrendering any of their top prospects.

"We're good right now. We're very proud of that," Dodger Manager Jim Tracy said. "But we don't want to be good right now and take a five-year hiatus."

The Dodgers have so far deflected inquiries about inexperienced and inexpensive pitchers Eric Gagne, Matt Herges and Luke Prokopec.

However, the Dodgers continue to search for a shortstop who could displace the combination of Alex Cora and Jeff Reboulet, and interim general manager Dave Wallace said the acquisition of Baldwin does not rule out the acquisition of another pitcher.

"I'm a pitching guy," Wallace said. "I don't think you ever have enough pitching."

Baldwin, a pending free agent, said he would be interested in discussing a long-term contract with the Dodgers.

"There's a good chance I would love to finish my career there," he said.

But Chairman Bob Daly said that, for now, the Dodgers consider Baldwin a summer hire.

"Beyond this year, there's too many things that have to be looked at, including the new labor agreement," Daly said. "We're not going to make any moves relating to next year until the season is over."



(6-3, 4.90 ERA)



(6-12, 5.53 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 7

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Update--The Dodgers activated infielder Hiram Bocachica, who had been on the disabled list because of a sprained right ankle. Dodger ace Kevin Brown, on the disabled list because of a sprained flexor muscle in his right elbow, said he hoped to resume workouts next week and expected to return well before rosters expand Sept. 1. When the Dodgers put Brown on the disabled list July 18, team physician Frank Jobe projected a four-week rehabilitation.

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