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DODGERS

Larry Bowa responds to Brad Penny's criticism

The former Dodgers pitcher says 'nobody had my back' last season and singles out the third base coach. Bowa says the pitcher was out of shape and didn't work hard.

February 18, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

PHOENIX — After learning that Brad Penny singled him out as a source of his disenchantment in his final season with the Dodgers last year, third base coach Larry Bowa fired back by describing the former All-Star pitcher as a lazy underachiever whom the club was right to part with.

Penny, who signed with the Boston Red Sox in the off-season, said in an interview with Yahoo Sports that he was upset that Dodgers management questioned whether he was really hurt last season, and that Bowa talked behind his back.

"There were a few people I didn't get along with on the coaching staff that don't respect people," Penny said. "I mean, me and [Manager] Joe [Torre] got along fine. I just feel like nobody had my back there. You're in the clubhouse and you have players coming up to you saying coaches are saying this to them about you."

Said Bowa: "Is this the same Penny that never went to meetings, that came late, left early, was never in shape, always had an excuse when things didn't go right, didn't help the young kids at all? Coaches get on players when they're lazy and don't work. I think he should worry about getting hitters out in the American League East and not worry about me."

Penny's problems with Dodgers management started last spring when his request for a contract extension was denied. Limited to 17 starts last season by shoulder problems, Penny went 6-9 with a 6.27 earned-run average, then said he pitched hurt because he at least wanted the team to pick up his $9.25-million option for 2009. But club officials questioned the severity of the injury and cut ties with him.

Bowa said the Dodgers made the right call: "If Brad Penny wants to work and dedicate himself, he could probably be as good as he wants to be. He didn't do it with us."

Torre refused to get drawn into the feud, joking: "I'll write about it in my next book."

Ethier gets deal

Andre Ethier and the Dodgers avoided Tuesday's scheduled arbitration hearing, agreeing on a one-year, $3.1-million contract. Ethier, who can earn another $100,000 in incentives based on plate appearances, had asked for $3.75 million; the team offered $2.65 million. The deal was struck in the arbitration room.

"It was a little annoying and frustrating for the fact that things could've been resolved a little earlier," Ethier said. "But I guess sometimes it takes putting on suits and calling each other's bluffs."

Short hops

Ivan DeJesus Jr., the Dodgers' 2008 minor league player of the year, didn't make the final roster of Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic team. . . . Russell Martin, who twisted a foot last week, performed running drills for the first time at camp.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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