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Valentin's Offense Is Out of Position

August 06, 2005|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH — Jose Valentin has made the transition from infield to outfield look easy, making several outstanding catches in the five games he has played left field since coming off the disabled list.

The 13-year veteran had played only 25 major league games in the outfield before this season, but he frequently played center field in the Puerto Rican winter league.

Valentin's bat is not coming along as well as his glove. He is batting .186 and is one for 14 since getting two hits in his first game back.

He was batting .194 when he injured his knee May 3 and this is the fifth season in a row his average has declined.

"We've been facing good pitchers and I've been getting out on good pitches," he said. "I feel comfortable. I just want to start helping."

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General Manager Paul DePodesta did not accompany the team to Pittsburgh, instead heading south from Washington D.C. to watch Dodger minor league teams at Columbus, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla.

Although catcher Dioner Navarro and relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton recently were called up, DePodesta does not anticipate additional minor leaguers being thrust into key roles.

"Some of our best guys are still a ways away," he said. "We're not going to rush prospects. The guys we called up fill roles we needed and were ready."

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Three hot-hitting Dodger minor league second basemen have been promoted. Delwyn Young moved from double-A Jacksonville to triple-A Las Vegas; Tony Abreu went from Class-A Vero Beach to Jacksonville and Travis Denker moved up to Vero Beach from Class-A Columbus.

Young batted .296 with 16 home runs and 62 runs batted in at Jacksonville. Abreu was the Florida State League leader in batting average at .330 and Denker hit .310 with 21 homers and 68 RBIs.

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Jason Phillips again was available only for emergency catching duty and was not available to hit because of pain in his left hand.

X-rays were negative and Phillips said he could pinch-hit today.

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