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DODGERS FYI

Jones to be out four to six weeks

May 25, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

Andruw Jones' frustrating season took another turn for the worse Saturday when the Dodgers announced their $36-million outfielder would undergo surgery on his right knee Tuesday and was expected to miss four to six weeks.

Jones, who hasn't started in a week, struck out as a pinch-hitter to end Friday's game and is hitting .165 with a team-high 45 strikeouts in 133 at-bats. But he has been quietly dealing with torn cartilage in his right knee, which swelled up over the last seven days.

"His approach at the plate is basically impossible. It's impossible to hit when your back side's collapsing and your front side's going in another direction," Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said. "When you think about the right knee, it's the back knee, it's the one that's continually in motion."

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic.

"Hopefully it will not only help him physically, but hopefully it will help his game," said Colletti, who added that the team wasn't aware Jones had a damaged knee until last weekend. "Obviously through seven weeks it's been disappointing for him, for everybody involved."

Jones, however, has refused to use the knee as an excuse.

"I don't make excuses," he said Friday. "I never thought it was going to be a big issue. But it got my attention this past week."

Jones' spot on the roster will be filled by former Minnesota Twins infielder Terry Tiffee, whose contract was purchased from the Dodgers' triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, where he was hitting .422 in 46 games. To make room for Tiffee on the 40-man roster, infielder Nomar Garciaparra -- on the 15-day disabled list since April 26 because of a strained calf -- was transferred to the 60-day DL.

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To create room for left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who was called up Saturday and will start against the Cardinals today, the Dodgers made two other moves, optioning reliever Yhency Brazoban back to Las Vegas to open a spot on the 25-man roster and designating injured right-hander Esteban Loaiza for assignment to clear space on the 40-man roster.

"It was the right thing to do for everybody," Colletti said of the Loaiza move.

Despite designating Loaiza, the Dodgers remain responsible for the rest of the $7 million he is owed this season as well as a $375,000 buyout for next year. Although the team has 10 days to trade him, it is likely to simply give him his release.

Loaiza, 36, who has been on the disabled list since May 4 because of a sore shoulder, is a former All-Star game starter as well as the second-winningest Mexican pitcher in major league history with 126 victories. But he spent much of the last three seasons on the disabled list because of a variety of ailments.

Claimed by the Dodgers off waivers from Oakland last August, Loaiza won the fifth spot in the rotation this spring, then went 1-2 with a 5.63 earned-run average in seven games -- including three starts -- during the regular season.

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Rafael Furcal's sore lower back was much improved, trainer Stan Conte said, but the shortstop isn't expected to accompany the Dodgers on their upcoming seven-game trip primarily to avoid sitting in a plane for six hours on the flight back from New York.

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St. Louis third baseman Troy Glaus came out in the ninth inning and was taken to the hospital because of possible appendicitis.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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