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Dodgers may not have enough bait to catch an ace

DODGERS FYI

Demands from other teams are said to be too high. GM Ned Colletti will say only that his emphasis remains on pitching.

July 29, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

ST. LOUIS — With time running out before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline, the chances of the Dodgers landing a top-of-the-line starter appear to be remote.

The Dodgers have scouted Roy Halladay of Toronto and Cliff Lee of Cleveland in recent weeks, but baseball sources who aren't authorized to speak publicly indicate the team isn't willing to meet the asking prices for either of the pitchers.

In exchange for Halladay, the Blue Jays reportedly are asking for a package that includes a high-end, major league-ready pitching prospect -- something the Dodgers don't have in their farm system. The Indians have similar demands for Lee.

The Dodgers don't intend to break up their major league roster, meaning pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley are off-limits.

Citing baseball's tampering rules, General Manager Ned Colletti refused to comment on any specific player on the Dodgers' radar.

"We've got calls out to a lot of different clubs, all with the emphasis on pitching," Colletti said. "I think that in the past, our needs have been greater than they are right now. Our focus has been far more refined."

Colletti said he wasn't prioritizing adding a starter over a reliever or vice versa.

"I'm not going to pass up the right starter waiting for a reliever and I'm not going to pass on the right reliever waiting for a starter," he said.

The Dodgers are known to have scouted George Sherrill of Baltimore and John Grabow and Matt Capps of Pittsburgh.

"We're still a far ways away," Colletti said of Friday's 1 p.m. PDT deadline. "Sometimes they can happen minutes to the end, as was the case with Manny [Ramirez] last year."

Schmidt: decision near

Manager Joe Torre still hasn't said whether Jason Schmidt will start Friday in Atlanta. Torre said he would announce his decision today.

"Obviously, it's still all about being able to locate and being physically capable of doing that," Torre said. "You're using muscles you're not used to using and putting stress on them."

Schmidt, who was sidelined for more than two years because of shoulder problems, was pounded for five runs in three innings of a loss to Florida on Sunday.

He threw a bullpen session Tuesday and didn't report any problems.

Weaver back at Busch

For right-hander Jeff Weaver, the Dodgers' trip to St. Louis marks his first visit to Busch Stadium since he was part of the Cardinals' World Series team in 2006.

Weaver won the fifth and final game of that series.

"I don't see how it can get higher than that," Weaver said. "It was a surreal feeling."

Weaver said he would like to pitch for the Cardinals again.

"I think any player, when given the opportunity, would like to go back to the organization where he had success," he said. "L.A. is a place like that for me. St. Louis is also a place like that for me."

Weaver had a rough time after leaving St. Louis. He was 7-13 with a 6.20 earned-run average with Seattle in 2007 and didn't pitch in the majors last year.

He said he was particularly fond of the atmosphere in Busch Stadium.

"This is the craziest team town in middle America as far as their support," Weaver said.

"Every day, you walk down the street and 90% of the people are wearing Cardinal jerseys or shirts," he added.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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