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Draft Picks Share a Lot Already

DODGER REPORT

June 17, 2004|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

They met not with a handshake but a fastball that grazed the shoulder.

Nonetheless, the Dodgers' first-round draft picks, pitcher Scott Elbert and infielder Blake DeWitt, shared a common quest as they met with Dodger players and officials Wednesday evening at Dodger Stadium -- to return as soon as possible.

Elbert, the 17th overall selection who received a $1.575-million signing bonus, and Blake, the 28th selection who received $1.2 million, are scheduled to board a 6 a.m. flight today to begin the ascent in rookie ball with the Ogden Raptors.

Elbert and DeWitt, both of whom attended high school in Missouri, played against each other last summer in travel ball, with each player's team winning four games. Elbert grazed DeWitt's shoulder the first time the players faced each other.

"I went one for three with a lucky hit," DeWitt recalled. "He's got pretty good stuff, so I was pleased just to get that hit."

Elbert, a left-hander, and DeWitt, a shortstop who is being converted to a third baseman, cemented their friendship later in the summer while playing together in the Area Code Games in Long Beach.

"It's been awesome that we both got drafted by the Dodgers," Elbert said. "Every kid's dream is to get drafted, but to have one of your good friends with you, that's even a bigger bonus."

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Reliever Paul Shuey, who has yet to pitch this season because of a torn tendon in his right thumb, exhibited good command while pitching a simulated game Wednesday, Manager Jim Tracy said.

Shuey threw all his pitches and displayed a sharper curveball than he had while pitching a batting practice session last week in Toronto, Tracy said. Shuey is scheduled to pitch another simulated game Friday and could begin a rehabilitation assignment within a week.

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Tracy has committed to Jose Lima remaining in the rotation through at least the All-Star break, saying it would be tough to remove the right-hander later in the season if he continues to perform as well as he has lately. Lima, 5-2 with a 3.67 earned-run average, has won two of his last three starts and limited Baltimore to one run in seven innings Tuesday.

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Reliever Guillermo Mota was held out Wednesday against Baltimore as a precaution after tests revealed no structural damage to his pitching elbow, which he injured in the eighth inning Tuesday.... The Dodgers signed pitcher Justin Orenduff, their third selection and a supplemental first-rounder in the recent amateur draft, to a $1-million signing bonus and have reached agreements with 13 of their top 14 draft selections.

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