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DODGER-ANGEL REPORT

DePodesta Says Mota Wasn't Holdup

June 27, 2004|Bill Shaikin and Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writers

Two days after the Houston Astros traded their closer to acquire star outfielder Carlos Beltran from the Kansas City Royals, Dodger General Manager Paul DePodesta said his inability to acquire Beltran had nothing to do with a reluctance to trade setup man Guillermo Mota.

"That's not true," DePodesta said Saturday. "We didn't have what Kansas City wanted."

The Royals got what they wanted in a three-way trade, catching prospect John Buck from Houston and third-base prospect Mark Teahen from the Oakland Athletics. The A's, desperately seeking bullpen help, failed to structure a trade in which they would get Mota, then brokered the deal to get Houston closer Octavio Dotel.

The Royals apparently did not believe the Dodgers had a worthy third-base prospect and believed they could do better than the Dodgers' triple-A catcher, Koyie Hill.

"We could get a third baseman, but we couldn't get a catcher," DePodesta said. "I could have added a lot to the guy we had at triple A, but we weren't going to get it done."

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Pitcher Jose Lima, who suggested after Friday's game that the Dodgers could use a team meeting, decided not to call one Saturday. With batting practice optional before the day game and players arriving close to game time, Lima said he did not want to disrupt the preparations of starting pitcher Odalis Perez.

Lima said he still believed the Dodgers needed to pick their spirits up and remind themselves they are within striking distance of first place with half the season left. He said he might try to lighten the mood without rounding everyone up for a meeting.

"I might be nobody here, because it's my first year, but I'm a veteran," Lima said. "So I might say something. But nobody has to listen. I don't want to create anything."

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The lineup card was posted in the Angel clubhouse Saturday, and right-hander Ramon Ortiz was not listed among the relief pitchers.

"That's a good idea," said Ortiz, who gave up one run and six hits in 11 1/3 innings in two recent starts in place of the injured Aaron Sele. "Everybody knows I'm a starting pitcher. I'm throwing the ball good. I'm full of confidence. I've done everything the team wants. I can't do anything more."

It might not matter. Ortiz and starter John Lackey will be listed as relievers on today's lineup card. With an off day Monday, Manager Mike Scioscia wants both available in case of emergency -- an injury to Bartolo Colon or an extra-inning game.

Barring an injury or an unexpected pitching development, Ortiz probably will be sent back to the bullpen later this week, a role he excelled at after being demoted from the rotation in early May but was so frustrated with he asked to be traded.

"The thing is, we have six starters, and everybody is pitching well right now," Ortiz said. "I have to wait. I don't know what's going to happen. [Scioscia] hasn't told me anything yet. No matter what happens, I'm ready."

Sele, in his first start since June 10, struggled with his mechanics Saturday and lasted only four innings, giving up five runs -- four earned -- and six hits. Two of the runners who scored reached on bloop hits and one on Sele's fielding error, but the right-hander also gave up a three-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the first.

"They hit some good pitches, but the home run wasn't a good pitch," Sele said. "I was a little inconsistent and up in the zone."

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Garret Anderson, most valuable player of last season's All-Star game, does not anticipate having a chance to defend his home run derby championship at this summer's All-Star game in Houston on July 13.

Though he has played like an All-Star when sound -- in 31 games, he's batting .344 with six home runs and 16 runs batted in -- Anderson sat out six weeks because of an arthritic condition in his upper back.

"I don't deserve to go," said Anderson, who, along with his teammates, cast their All-Star ballots for pitchers and reserve position players Saturday. "I haven't played enough. I'd rather credit the guys who have played every day and put up the numbers to go. I've always felt that way."

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Closer Troy Percival was activated after Saturday's game and reliever Matt Hensley was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake, bringing the Angel bullpen to full strength for the first time this season.

Francisco Rodriguez, who struck out two of four batters Saturday for his seventh save, will return to a setup role. Brendan Donnelly, who missed the first 2 1/2 months because of a broken nose and an inflamed elbow, struck out two in 1 2/3 hitless innings. Kevin Gregg threw two hitless innings.

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