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DODGERS FYI

Penny is done for the season

September 25, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

Brad Penny became ineligible for postseason play Wednesday when the Dodgers put him on the 60-day disabled list so they could create a spot on the 40-man roster and activate Rafael Furcal.

The move might've marked the end of Penny's tenure with the Dodgers, who can buy out the $9.25-million option on his contract for next season for $2 million.

Penny, who was 6-9 with a 6.27 earned-run average in a season plagued by shoulder problems, said this month that he pitched hurt and worsened his condition because of the Dodgers' refusal to extend his contract.

Of how General Manager Ned Colletti hasn't told him that his 2009 option would be exercised, Penny said, "It just tells me they were never sold on me, which is fine."

Furcal, who was taken off the 60-day disabled list, mentioned Wednesday that he, too, could be looking for a new employer next season. He will be a free agent this winter. He said he would play winter ball in the Dominican Republic in part because "I have to find a job."

Furcal, who last played on May 5, was happy when asked about his activation.

"I was looking forward to this moment," he said.

More Manny?

Colletti said that if finances weren't a consideration, he would encourage owner Frank McCourt to re-sign Manny Ramirez this winter. But Ramirez, who will be a free agent, is believed to be looking for a multi-year deal worth at least $20 million a season.

Asked if he would recommend pursuing Ramirez, Colletti said, "There are a lot of arms and legs to that question, but you obviously have to think seriously about it."

McCourt declined to speak on the subject the previous day.

Protecting Kuo

The question isn't whether Hong-Chih Kuo can pitch again. He can.

What is uncertain is whether Kuo's four-times-operated elbow can withstand multiple outings over short periods of time -- and, if he can, what that would mean for his future.

Kuo admitted that he doesn't know. What he does know, he said, is that he wouldn't mind doing irreparable damage to his elbow if he can pitch in the World Series this year.

"I always pitch like it's the last game I might throw," he said.

But trainer Stan Conte said he would protect Kuo from himself if necessary. Conte said he doesn't want Kuo to end up like Robb Nen, who quietly pitched through shoulder pain on San Francisco's run to the World Series in 2002 and never pitched again. Conte was on the Giants' training staff that season.

Torre shared Conte's opinion.

"There's no game that's worth sacrificing his career for," Torre said.

As it is, the Dodgers could be forced to make a tough decision about Kuo this winter if there are questions about the condition of his elbow. Because Kuo has a 2.14 ERA in 42 games, he could get a significant raise from the $392,000 he made this season if he becomes eligible for arbitration.

Short hops

Jeff Kent wouldn't necessarily be on the playoff roster if the Dodgers win the NL West because it's unlikely he'll be able to play in the field, Torre said. For someone such as Kent to make the roster, Torre said, "we have to make sure we have flexibility." Kent has been slowed by a sore knee in recent days. . . . Takashi Saito says he has tightness in his elbow resulting from having pitched on consecutive days Saturday and Sunday. Conte said he wasn't concerned, attributing the tightness to Saito's prolonged inactivity. . . . Nomar Garciaparra started at first base for the second consecutive day, but Torre denied that he had any thoughts of platooning him with James Loney. "James is our first baseman," Torre said. . . . Tickets for a potential one-game playoff against the Diamondbacks will go on sale Saturday morning at 10 a.m. if the Dodgers haven't clinched the division title by then. Tickets for the one-game playoff, which would be played Monday at Dodger Stadium, will be available for purchase at www.dodgers.com and 1-866-DODGERS.

Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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