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Dodgers' Blake DeWitt continues to be up and down

Infielder will do whatever it takes, even if it means continuing the shuttle between the majors and triple A.

July 11, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

MILWAUKEE — Blake DeWitt still hasn't rented an apartment in Los Angeles.

The 23-year-old infielder from small-town Missouri who was the Dodgers' feel-good story of last year doesn't know where he fits in the team's plans this season.

But he's fine with that.

"It'll take care of itself," DeWitt said.

DeWitt is in his fourth stint in the majors this season and seventh in two years. He was most recently called up from triple-A Albuquerque on July 5 to provide the Dodgers with an extra left-handed bat off the bench while Manny Ramirez played his way back into shape.

With Ramirez already looking as if he's ready to play nine innings on an everyday basis and Manager Joe Torre thinking of adding an extra arm to the bullpen to start the second half of the season, DeWitt could be sent down to the minors soon. Torre said again Friday that he doesn't want a player of DeWitt's age to spend so much time on the bench.

"Whatever I can do to help this team out -- if that's me being here pinch-hitting, if that's me coming in for a double-switch, if they need me to get at-bats in Albuquerque -- I'm happy to do that," DeWitt said.

DeWitt said he doesn't think he has been hurt by the frequent shuttling between triple A and the majors.

He said he feels more comfortable pinch-hitting, something that was completely foreign to him until the Dodgers started using him in that role in spring training.

He has spent time on the bench picking the brains of veterans Mark Loretta and Brad Ausmus, asking them what they would try to do in certain situations.

And he has had results.

DeWitt hit the first pinch-hit home run of his career Tuesday. When he pinch-hit in the seventh inning Friday, he moved Matt Kemp from second to third by driving a ball deep to center field.

Dodgers scout Halladay

and Martinez

The Dodgers sent two scouts to Tampa Bay on Thursday night to watch Toronto ace Roy Halladay, the prize of this year's trade market. But the price for Halladay could be more than the Dodgers are willing to pay, as the Blue Jays are believed to want a package that includes Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw.

The Dodgers are also among the teams that have had a scout watch three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez throw in the Dominican Republic, but they don't appear to be interested in the 37-year-old free agent. Martinez is asking for a pro-rated portion of a $5-million annual salary.

Martinez told the Associated Press that his agent, Fernando Cuza, is negotiating with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Reliever relieved

Setup man Ronald Belisario admitted he was nervous when he returned to Los Angeles from New York on Tuesday to get an MRI exam on his tight elbow.

"It almost felt the way it did when I had to have Tommy John surgery," Belisario said of his 2005 operation that sidelined him for two seasons.

The test showed only inflammation.

The hard-throwing sinkerballer was put on the 15-day disabled list. Counting the time he will need to make a minor league rehabilitation assignment, he could be out for a month.

Belisario said he believed he was hurt as a result of his increased workload. He had already pitched 48 1/3 innings; he pitched 57 all of last year in the minors.

But Belisario said that when he returns to the active roster, he wants Torre to call on him as often as he did before he was injured.

"That's my job," he said. "I'd like to pitch every day. This is part of pitching."


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