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DODGERS FYI

Disabled-list payroll is no drop in bucket

May 26, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

With Andruw Jones joining Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Schmidt on the disabled list, and with Esteban Loaiza having been designated for assignment, the Dodgers are paying $49.5 million in annual salaries to five players who can't play.

That's more than the total payrolls of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays, and more than twice what the first-place Florida Marlins are spending on their 25-man roster.

Jones was the latest addition to the Dodgers' burgeoning disabled list when he opted Saturday to undergo arthroscopic surgery for a torn cartilage in his right knee, which has been bothering him all season. He's expected to be out until the All-Star break.

"It was not feeling comfortable," said Jones, who was batting .165 with a team-high 45 strikeouts. "I was trying to play through it but it didn't feel comfortable. It just wouldn't settle down."

So after batting practice Saturday, Jones talked with Manager Joe Torre who, Jones said, "told me it's better to go in and get it done and get back by the second half."

Jones' decision also forced the Dodgers to move Garciaparra, out since April 26 because of a strained left calf, to the 60-day DL to create a roster spot for Jones' replacement, Terry Tiffee, who had his contract purchased from triple-A Las Vegas.

Garciaparra, who has played only nine games, appeared ready to go out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment two weeks ago. Now he's out at least another month.

"There's no improvement," General Manager Ned Colletti said of Garciaparra's calf, which will undergo another series of tests this week "There's far more questions than answers for him."

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Furcal, who has sat out 17 games -- in which the Dodgers are 8-9 -- won't accompany the team on its seven-game trip to Chicago and New York, remaining behind to get treatment and continue an exercise program.

Schmidt will make his third minor league rehab start tonight for Class-A San Bernardino. He is scheduled to throw about 45 pitches.

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The spate of injuries have made the Dodgers younger. Their starting lineup Sunday averaged 24.5 years with only left fielder Juan Pierre older than 27 and five players younger than 25.

"Most teams break in one player or two players at a time. Truly give them a long period to play where they can really get comfortable in their surroundings," Colletti said, referring to the Dodgers' six everyday players with fewer than three years of big league experience. "You're going to go through some of those situations."

And that made it easier for many of the starters to relate to left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who became the youngest pitcher in the majors when he made his debut Sunday.

"It's fun to see guys get their first shot up here," said outfielder Andre Ethier, who made his major league debut two years ago. "For most of the guys that were playing today, it wasn't long ago that we had our first game."

The Marlins have the youngest roster in the majors with an average age of 27.4.

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St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Troy Glaus, who came out of Saturday's game in the ninth inning and was taken to a hospital because of abdominal discomfort, was in the lineup Sunday after being cleared by doctors, who ruled out appendicitis but could not pinpoint the cause of the pains. . . . The Dodgers celebrated Dominican Day at Dodger Stadium despite the fact they're one of only five teams in the majors without a Dominican on their active roster. . . . Rookie Luis Maza's first-inning homer was his first.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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