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DODGERS FYI

Team in line to play host to the WBC finals

May 29, 2008|Bill Shaikin and Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writers

CHICAGO -- The Dodgers are in line to play host to the finals of the World Baseball Classic next year, with an official announcement expected to follow a WBC steering committee meeting next month. They would like to lure the All-Star game in 2013, after extensive renovations for Dodger Stadium's 50th anniversary in 2012.

Commissioner Bud Selig said he could not say whether the Dodgers getting the WBC finals would diminish their chances of getting an All-Star game.

"I take every variable into account," Selig said in Anaheim.

The Dodgers could be competing against several National League rivals with new ballparks, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals.

"You've got a lot of new stadiums," Selig said. "Every one of those cities wants a game."

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Second baseman Jeff Kent missed his second consecutive game because of tightness in his lower back. Kent refused to talk about his condition, but trainer Stan Conte said Kent was feeling better than he did Tuesday and could be back in the lineup for the start of a four-game series today in New York.

"His motion is much improved," Conte said. "He has a lot of stiffness."

Manager Joe Torre said the 40-year-old Kent, who is hitting .242, was frustrated he couldn't build on the momentum he gained from his three-for-four night Monday.

"He's getting older, but he's pretty honest and if he doesn't think he can still hit, he certainly would own up to that fact," Torre said. "I don't see it. It's been very frustrating for him knowing he's fouling pitches off, hitting some pitches right at people. Then he gets a couple of hits the other day and had to be shut down."

With Kent out of the lineup, Luis Maza started at second base. Torre said that third baseman Blake DeWitt, who played second base as recently as 2006 in Class A, will start taking grounders at the position.

Another option is third baseman Andy LaRoche, who is in triple-A Las Vegas working out as a first baseman. Torre hinted that LaRoche could be close to being called up.

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Utility infielder Tony Abreu, who has been on the disabled list all season, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right hip in Colorado. The expected time of recovery is three to four months.

The procedure was recommended by Dr. Marc Philippon, a leading hip specialist, and team physician Neal ElAttrache, who theorized that cartilage damage in Abreu's hip might be responsible for his lingering muscular problems in his lower body.

Abreu, 23, had surgery in his abdominal area in the off-season and suffered a groin strain in spring training from which he never recovered, costing him the chance to be the starting third baseman.

"This is not about the 2008 season," Conte said. "This is about getting him healthy for the rest of his career."

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Jason Schmidt threw a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium, the first time he was able to throw on the side two days after a minor league rehab start. He is scheduled for a rehab start Saturday.

Conte said the development was significant, noting, "His pitch count is important, but his recovery is more important."

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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