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DODGER REPORT

Mulholland: Trade Will Help

July 29, 2002|Mike DiGiovanna

SAN FRANCISCO — As a condition of Sunday's Paul Shuey trade, the Cleveland Indians had to take struggling reliever Terry Mulholland and his $3-million contract, a move that sent Mulholland from a contender to an also-ran.

"You hate to leave a first place-caliber club, but this move may help [the Dodgers]," Mulholland said. "They're getting a very capable reliever, and let's face it, I haven't had the best year. It's been an uphill climb since I gave up all those runs to start the season. But going to Cleveland, maybe I'll have a chance to pitch more."

Mulholland, who has been traded six times since 1989, gave up 11 earned runs and 11 hits, including five home runs, in 4 2/3 innings of his first two appearances. He missed most of May because of back spasms, and after returning in early June, he was relegated to a mop-up role.

"I thought I turned the corner to where I might be a bigger part of the club after the All-Star break, but [General Manager] Dan Evans is doing the best he can do--I don't fault him for trading me," said Mulholland, who had a 7.31 earned-run average in 21 games. "Had I done better earlier in the season, I would have been used more."

Though Manager Jim Tracy didn't use Mulholland in critical situations, Mulholland didn't feel Tracy lost confidence in him.

"Let's face it, early on, I was getting my brains beat in," Mulholland said. "He gave me the opportunity to get things right in [low-stress] situations. That might have lasted longer than I would have liked. Obviously, you want to pitch in competitive situations. I wished I could have contributed more, but it's Jim's job to win games."

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The Dodgers demoted struggling reliever Guillermo Mota to triple-A Las Vegas after Sunday's game because they don't believe Mota will get enough work to further his development after Shuey joins the team Tuesday in Cincinnati.

"Pitching in long relief is not a good situation for a young arm like that," Tracy said of Mota, who is 29 and in his 13th professional season but has only pitched for the last six years. "The only way to nurture that is to keep pitching. I don't want to see him go six or seven days in a row without pitching."

The Dodgers recalled left-hander Victor Alvarez from Las Vegas before Sunday's game to fill Mulholland's roster spot and long relief role. Alvarez was 8-5 with a 4.94 ERA in 26 games at Las Vegas.

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Pitcher Darren Dreifort, whose rehabilitation from elbow surgery has been slowed by a right knee injury, returned to Los Angeles Sunday night and will be examined by team physicians Frank Jobe and Ralph Gambardella today. Dreifort had to cut Friday's light bullpen session off at 20 pitches because of pain in the knee.

"I shut it down before the pain got too excruciating and would force me to alter my mechanics to compensate," Dreifort said. "I'm still a little unsure what's going on down there."

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Dodger pitching coach Jim Colborn on Ricardo Rodriguez, the prospect the Dodgers gave up in the Shuey trade: "I liked him a lot--he's a good pitcher who has a big league career ahead of him. Obviously, you have to give up quality to get quality, and I don't think Cleveland has to worry about being cheated in this trade."

Tracy on Rodriguez: "I'd compare him a lot to Pedro Astacio, not Pedro Martinez. He has the same mannerisms, the same kind of stuff."

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