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DODGER REPORT

Perez Situation Has Everyone Upset

September 19, 2003|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

Angered by media criticism of his decision to skip a start because of a broken fingernail on his pitching hand, Odalis Perez declined to speak with reporters Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

After confronting a columnist during batting practice, Perez informed John Olguin, public relations director, he would not comment on the situation that stirred anger throughout the clubhouse.

The Dodgers are upset that Perez, with the team struggling to remain in the National League wild-card race, on Tuesday decided to skip Wednesday's start.

Rookie right-hander Edwin Jackson impressed again in a seven-inning outing, but the Dodgers had only three hits in a 2-0 loss.

Perez is scheduled to have a bullpen session Saturday. He could make another two starts.

Many players said Perez should have at least waited until Wednesday to decide whether to pitch, saying he owed it to the team to try. Players privately questioned Perez's commitment to the Dodgers, renewing concerns about his attitude.Perez earlier in the season called out General Manager Dan Evans, Manager Jim Tracy and the everyday players for not doing their parts to support the major league's top pitching staff.

Tracy spoke with Perez immediately after the pitcher initiated the on-field argument, and pitching coach Jim Colborn supported the left-hander. Colborn, however, acknowledged he understood why Perez's teammates are angry.

"I understand both sides, I understand exactly," Colborn said. "I can understand how he feels, I can understand why he didn't pitch. He didn't feel 100%. It's terribly unsettling for an athlete to enter a competition with the thought in his mind that he might not be at his best.

"It's hard enough to succeed when you're at your best. And the truth is that with a pitcher, when there's something with his finger, it maybe is even more monumental than something in his foot or leg....

"How do I feel about that? If I give an opinion, I don't think I can straddle the fence. Right now, I prefer to be in the middle. When the time comes where it's time to shed light on the issue, I'll help him. That's my role."

ON DECK

Opponent -- San Francisco Giants, three games.

Site -- Dodger Stadium.

TV -- Channel 13.

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

Records -- Dodgers 81-70, Giants 93-58.

Record vs. Giants -- 4-8.

Tonight, 7 p.m. -- Kevin Brown (14-8, 2.35) vs. Dustin Hermanson (2-3, 4.01)

Saturday, 7 p.m. -- Hideo Nomo (16-11, 2.88) vs. Kirk Rueter (8-5, 4.83).

Sunday, 1 p.m. -- Kazuhisa Ishii (9-6, 3.28) vs. Jerome Williams (7-4, 3.30).

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