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T.J. SIMERS

Rescuing the Dodgers even on wounded knee

September 21, 2008|T.J. SIMERS

I mention to Jeff Kent that I'm going to have knee surgery, and next thing I know he's having knee surgery. Sympathy surgery -- I had no idea we were that close.

Same knee, same cartilage wear and tear for two great athletes, surgery the same day of the week -- only the so-called tough guy can't take the pain, getting his knee done 14 days earlier while Page 2 hangs on one leg with our heroes for as long as possible.

But now who rejoins the Dodgers first? Who wants it more?

Or, more importantly, if you had to make the selection -- and you have to make a selection -- who would you rather see back with the Dodgers now? Kent or Page 2?

Keep in mind Blake DeWitt is filling in for Kent, while Plaschke recently took it upon himself to comment on our boys in blue, offering only doom and gloom. You want more Plaschke?

It's true some of my teammates at the newspaper don't speak to me as well, but remember, I like Scully. Love listening to him talk and talk and talk.

I'm on a crutch now, arriving at Dodger Stadium on Saturday to bring the Dodgers out of their Giants' funk -- three consecutive losses to the minor leaguers -- while also answering the question of who wants it more.

The Dodgers immediately say they're activating Kent because how would it look to have Page 2 showing more grit than their crusty second baseman?

I hop around the clubhouse, first firing up Matt Kemp, but not being able to speak Japanese, I don't get the chance to let Hiroki Kuroda know "he's an inconsistent mess," which doesn't bode well for the playoffs unless Derek Lowe pitches every game.

I spend most of my time, though, with Manny Ramirez, reminding him he's here to knock the ball out of the park.

Ramirez hasn't hit a home run since we were together in San Diego, going without one during the eight games I missed. You think Kent inspires Ramirez? Talks to Ramirez?

"I kept asking everyone where you were," Ramirez says. "I thought maybe you were off talking to Schilling."

Then Ramirez pulls out the perfume. "Every time I spray you, I get two hits," he says. He singles his first time up.

"You want big money, you hit the ball out of the park," I tell Ramirez. "Starting tonight."

He hits a three-run home run his next time up, erasing a 2-0 Dodgers deficit, and a few minutes later Kemp hits a two-run home run.

All this while standing on one crutch, and what's Kent done for the Dodgers lately?

His last time up, Ramirez hits a two-run home run.

THE OTHER day Lowe said the players might have to give a quarter share of postseason money to Page 2, the money going to Mattel's, of course. But just a hunch -- they'll find a cure for cancer before the players vote to give any of their money away.

DON'T KNOW many guys I'd ask, "What have you done with your hair?" But have you seen Ramirez's chopped mop?

"A friend in Pittsburgh cut it," Ramirez said, but apparently not a close friend who just happened to have a dull pocket knife on him while wearing a blindfold. "My helmet fits better now."

No comment yet from Schilling. But it's coming.

THE RAIDERS won, team doctor Frederic Nicola came in Monday all smiles, and then started digging into my knee surprised to find so much arthritis like the old coot is any spring chicken himself.

The folks at D.I.S.C. assigned nurse James Wade to prep me for surgery because he's an ex-police officer and into rodeo roping. Try and run from this guy. I know -- it can't be done.

Instead of anesthesia to put you to sleep they have you listen to Mike Scioscia being interviewed or have operating room nurse Jo-An Obszanski speak to you.

Once you awaken, Lee Beran, D.I.S.C.'s designated pain in the you better follow the doctor's orders, takes over, which explains why it's so hard to wake patients once they've gone under.

As for recovery, I haven't seen the bill yet.

THE DODGERS under the management of Bob Daly a few years back ignored Tom Lasorda. Lasorda returned from the Olympics after his team won gold to stand beside the dugout, the fans cheering but not one player making the move to congratulate him until it became obvious how bad they looked.

The Dodgers honored Lasorda on Saturday night with a cake the size of Fullerton so he'd have enough to eat, in anticipation of his 81st birthday Monday. Players and coaches lined the field, joining Lasorda's wife and family for the perfect tribute.

Frank & Jamie McCourt arrived several minutes after the ceremonies.

PETROS PAPADAKIS, doing the UCLA game on TV, called coach Norm Chow "the greatest mind in college football history," presumably because he was able to get a field goal out of the Bruins' offense.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers

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