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Perez's Advice to Mota: Stay Cool

May 06, 2003|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

Left-hander Odalis Perez, who will start today against the New York Mets, had a little chat with reliever Guillermo Mota on Sunday about the series in Shea Stadium. His message to the right-hander: Don't do anything stupid.

Today will mark the first time since a March 12 brawl between the teams that Mota and Met catcher Mike Piazza, the primary combatants in that spring-training fight, will be in the same stadium.

Mota, who also scuffled with Piazza after hitting him with a pitch in the spring of 2002, drilled Piazza in the left shoulder this spring in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Piazza charged the mound, Mota ran to the dugout -- the Mets called him "gutless" -- and Piazza stormed into the Dodger clubhouse looking for Mota, who had left.

"Mota knows what he's doing out there; that's why he's pitching so good now," Perez said. "I don't want him to be messing around and doing anything dumb."

In other words, if Mota, who is 1-1 with a 1.59 earned-run average in 15 games, faces Piazza, he better not hit him with a pitch. Perez, however, is not afraid to tangle with the Mets if the need arises.

"I have nothing against those guys, but I don't know how they're going to react, whether they're going to try to hit our guys or not," Perez said. "But if I see something, believe me, I will react, whether it's Piazza up there or not. I will protect my guys.... I just hope this stuff is all over and in the past."

Said Met General Manager Steve Phillips, whose job appears to be in jeopardy because of New York's sluggish start: "We need to win ballgames, not fights."


An MRI test on Darren Dreifort's right knee Monday revealed no major damage or abnormalities, and the pitcher is expected to make his next start Saturday in Montreal.

Dreifort's status will be determined by how well he responds to physical therapy. The right-hander flew to New York after medical tests Monday and will rejoin the team today. He said Sunday that he was still experiencing pain in the knee but in a different area than the surgery that was performed last August.

Considering Dreifort's medical history -- he has undergone two major ligament replacement procedures on his throwing elbow, three surgeries on his right knee and one on his left knee, injuries that forced him to miss the 1995 and 2002 seasons -- the test results were a relief to the Dodgers.

"It's good to take the test just to make sure the prognosis is accurate, and it was," General Manger Dan Evans said.

If Dreifort doesn't respond quickly enough to treatment and rehabilitation, long reliever Andy Ashby, who has not appeared in a game since April 19, would start Saturday.


Shortstop Cesar Izturis is 12 for 27 in his last eight games, raising his average from .207 to .257.... The Dodger bullpen has given up six earned runs in its last 64 2/3 innings for an ERA of 0.84. Dodger relievers lead the major leagues with a 1.41 ERA, having given up 14 earned runs in 89 2/3 innings. They've given up 63 hits and struck out 97. Left-handed reliever Tom Martin, who has an 0.77 ERA in 16 games, has stranded all 12 of the runners he has inherited.



Opponent -- New York Mets, three games.

Site -- Shea Stadium, New York.

Today -- 4 p.m.

TV -- Fox Sports Net 2 all three games.

Radio -- KFWB (980), KWKW (1330).

Records -- Dodgers 16-16, Mets 13-18.

2001 Record vs. Mets -- 4-2.

Wednesday, 4. p.m. -- Hideo Nomo (3-4, 3.44) vs. Steve Trachsel (0-1, 5.45)

Thursday, 4 p.m. -- Kazuhisa Ishii (2-1, 3.21) vs. Tom Glavine (4-2, 3.64).

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