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Lofton Starts Season on Disabled List

April 02, 2006|Bill Shaikin and Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writers

The Dodgers put center fielder Kenny Lofton on the disabled list Saturday in the hope that his strained calf muscle can heal in two weeks rather than nag him for months.

The injury left Jason Repko as the center fielder on opening day and left a spot for Cody Ross on the roster, at least for now.

Lofton, 38, suffered the injury on Thursday. He could not run without discomfort on Saturday, Manager Grady Little said.

"His legs are his game," Little said. "We're not going to take any chances with it. If he pushes it, it could recur."

Little said he hoped Lofton could return April 14. Little said he would start Repko in the opener and consider daily matchups in selecting a center fielder.

The Dodgers have been trying to trade Ross, who is out of options. They plan to purchase the contract of infielder Ramon Martinez by Monday's opener. On Saturday, they optioned infielder Oscar Robles and catcher Russell Martin to triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday and placed outfielder Jayson Werth on the disabled list.


Pitcher Aaron Sele, a 13-year veteran and two-time All-Star, agreed to start the season at Las Vegas. If the Dodgers need to call up a starting pitcher, Little said Sele, Chad Billingsley and D.J. Houlton would be evaluated on how well each was pitching at the time.

Although contract language has not been finalized, the Dodgers are expected to agree to let Sele go if another club has a major league spot for him during the season and the Dodgers do not.


Several weeks after saying that "I don't have anything else to prove at triple-A," Angel third baseman Dallas McPherson graciously accepted a demotion to the minor leagues after Saturday's game.

"There just wasn't a role for me right now," said McPherson, hitting .182 after going hitless in three at-bats Saturday. "The fact that I'm playing at triple-A doesn't bother me.

"I'm going to go down and go about my business like I usually do. Hopefully, I go down, make some adjustments, get better and get another shot."

McPherson, slowed earlier this spring by a strained muscle in his right side, said he was not surprised by his demotion.

"I knew coming into spring training that I was battling with a few guys, and they had good springs and I didn't," he said. "When you get outperformed, you get outperformed. I'm not going to go beating my head on the wall."


As expected, the final spot in the Angel bullpen went to Esteban Yan over Kevin Gregg, who will open the season in triple-A Salt Lake. Yan extended his spring scoreless streak to 11 2/3 innings Saturday by pitching the 10th inning and giving up only one hit.


With only one day remaining before the Angels' opener at Seattle, Jeff Mathis said he still didn't know if he would be the opening-day catcher or how many games he could expect to play in his rookie season.

"I haven't heard anything," Mathis said. "I'll just play the game when they call my number."

Mathis and Jose Molina each has received roughly the same amount of playing time this spring, with Mathis appearing in 16 games and Molina 15. Mathis went two for three with a double Saturday against the Dodgers, boosting his batting average to .306.

Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said there was no "magic number" of games that either of his catchers should expect to play.

"We're going to need them both," Scioscia said.


Little said Sandy Alomar Jr. would start 20% to 25% of the time, most likely as a personal catcher for Odalis Perez. Although Dioner Navarro is scheduled to be the regular catcher, Little said Alomar would start on opening day.... The Angels' Chone Figgins has stolen 10 bases in 21 games this spring.... The Angels gave Kendry Morales the Fred Haney Award, symbolic of the top rookie in spring training. Morales, who will play first base at triple-A Salt Lake, entered Saturday batting .323 with 10 extra-base hits.... The Angels also reassigned infielder Brian Specht, catcher Mike Napoli, outfielder Curtis Pride and pitcher Jered Weaver to minor league camp.

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