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Joe Torre finds plenty of relief

Dodgers Manager says he is not concerned about having enough pitchers to work in the middle innings.

March 17, 2010|By Jim Peltz

Reporting from Phoenix — Although the Dodgers' middle-relief corps remains in flux, Manager Joe Torre said Wednesday he's not overly concerned because the team has several pitchers who could fill the role.

Asked for his take on the situation, Torre replied, "I don't have a take yet, to be honest with you," but added, "I'm not concerned. I think we have a lot of options."

The options have been pared lately, with Ronald Belisario still in Venezuela because of visa problems and Cory Wade undergoing shoulder surgery Wednesday that's expected to keep him sidelined up to three months.

But the Dodgers still have several pitchers for the innings between the starting pitchers and closers Jonathan Broxton and George Sherrill, Torre said. They include Ramon Troncoso, Jeff Weaver and Hong-Chih Kuo.

In addition, Charlie Haeger and Eric Stults "haven't done anything to hurt their chances," Torre said. Then there are Ramon Ortiz and Russ Ortiz, who have been contending for the fifth starting spot. "There's a chance that if it's not a starting situation, they still have to be considered for relief work," he said.

As for James McDonald, who started a few games early last season but was moved to the bullpen, "I'm probably leaning at this point to keeping him in the bullpen," Torre said.

Wade was due back in camp Thursday to start his rehabilitation after a 55-minute surgery in Los Angeles that included cleaning cartilage and tendon fraying in the shoulder that was thought to have been causing his pain, the Dodgers said.

Belisario's visa application was complicated by his misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence, stemming from an incident in June in Pasadena.

But his lawyer, J. Michael Flanagan, said Wednesday that the charges last week were reduced to a non-alcohol-related reckless-driving charge and that Belisario, 27, was fined $1,000.

He also said that "I knew this pending DUI delayed" Belisario's visa application and "that's why I hurried up the resolution of the case," adding that he then sent the paperwork to Belisario's agent, Paul Kinzer.

Kinzer said "we submitted that" paperwork to U.S. immigration authorities and "we're hoping to hear something in the next few days." Belisario remains in Venezuela and is "working out and ready to go as soon as he lands" in the United States, Kinzer said.

Martin update

Catcher Russell Martin said he's recovering nicely from the strained right groin that's expected to keep him out for four to six weeks, and he discounted any suggestion that his decision to gain weight over the winter might have contributed to the injury.

The groin "feels great" and the pain "went away probably four or five days afterward, but they say that since there was a tear in there, that it needs three or four weeks for the tissue to heal," he said.

Martin said he has started to swing the bat but wouldn't do significant running drills until spring training was nearly completed. A.J. Ellis, the Dodgers' backup catcher, is expected to start opening day.

"I want to be out there, there's no doubt about it," Martin said. "But I think I'm getting a little bit more mature. Now I just want to be smart about it."

Martin arrived in camp at about 230 pounds, roughly 25 pounds heavier than a year ago, and said Wednesday that "I told all the players I was going to come back strong."

He was frustrated last year with too many of his batted balls reaching only the warning track instead of carrying farther, he said, and "I just promised myself that wasn't going to happen again. I'm on top of my game as far as getting my body in shape and know what it takes to be ready for a season."

And finally

Left-handed pitcher Juan Perez, outfielder Prentice Redman and infielder Russell Mitchell were assigned to minor league camp.

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