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Saito is back and Jones is done

September 14, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

DENVER -- The Dodgers put Andruw Jones on the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Takashi Saito on Saturday, marking the end of Jones' miserable first season in Los Angeles. Saito was activated from the 60-day disabled list.

In a season that the former major league home run champion has called the most challenging of his 13-year career, Jones hit .158 with three home runs and 14 runs batted in in 75 games.

Asked if he regretted signing Jones to a two-year, $36.2-million contract, General Manager Ned Colletti replied, "I'll let you know in a year."

Jones, who went on the disabled list for the third time, will spend the remainder of the season rehabilitating his surgically repaired right knee, which is sore again, and plans to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

Asked if Jones could be the player he used to be, Colletti replied, "A lot of it's going to depend on what he wants to do. It's all up to him. It's not up to anybody else but him. It's never been up to anybody else but him."

So did Colletti think Jones didn't prepare himself properly for this season?

"I think we've all seen what we've seen," he said.

Jones reported to spring training weighing more than 240 pounds.

Manager Joe Torre, who said he envisioned Jones being his opening day center field next season, wasn't so sure weight was the issue.

"Could he have been in better shape? Probably," Torre said. "Do I think that was totally to blame for having the kind of year he had? No. A lot of it was emotional, the fact that he had never been with any club other than the Braves."

Ethier leaves team

Andre Ethier returned home to Arizona on Saturday morning to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Torre was told of the birth in advance and said earlier this month that Ethier would be granted permission to leave the team.

Ethier left the team on a tear, as his .595 average and .674 on-base percentage this month were the best in baseball.

Manny's mouthguard

Manny Ramirez said he started hitting with a mouthguard in spring training to cut down on his tobacco use.

Ramirez said he didn't consider his habit of chewing tobacco to be particularly hazardous to his health -- he doesn't chew in the off-season -- but that he preferred biting on his high-tech mouthpiece as a way to calm himself down in the batter's box. The mouthguard, which Ramirez said was recommended to him by his dentist, is designed to relax jaw, neck and head muscles.

"Everybody does something," he said. "Some people chew on sunflower seeds."

Short hops

Torre said that he would do what he could to refrain from using Hong-Chih Kuo, who received a cortisone injection in his arthritic elbow Thursday. . . . Left-hander Joe Beimel hasn't given up a home run in his last 96 appearances, the longest active streak in the majors and a Los Angeles Dodger record. Asked if he wasn't afraid that talking about the stretch would jinx it, Beimel replied, "I'm too mentally strong to succumb to jinxes."


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