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Lima left many fond memories

May 24, 2010|Baxter Holmes

The news that former Dodgers pitcher Jose Lima died Sunday because of an apparent heart attack seemed too sudden for Manager Joe Torre.

Lima was only 37 and seemed in good spirits, attending about five Dodgers games this month.

"It's so sad. He was just here the other night," Torre said in disbelief, shortly after being notified of Lima's death.

Lima, who spent 13 years in the major leagues, including the 2004 season with the Dodgers, was present at Dodger Stadium on Friday, sitting in the front row of the field level behind home plate.

He was given a rousing ovation when introduced that night. On Sunday, the crowd observed a moment of silence before the first pitch, the flags just beyond center field were at half staff, and a video tribute to Lima was played in the sixth inning.

Dodgers catcher Brad Ausmus, who was Lima's teammate for four seasons in Houston and Detroit, looked back fondly on the fiery pitcher whose style of pitching was known as "Lima Time."

"High energy, always in a good mood, loved to sing," Ausmus said. "We had to listen to his demo tape all the time in the locker room. Now it's a fond memory. Back then, it was annoying."

In 2004, Lima went 13-5 and led the Dodgers to their first National League West title since 1995. In the NL division series that year, he pitched a five-hit shutout against St. Louis, the Dodgers' first playoff win since the 1988 World Series.

Jose Lima's younger brother, Joel, is a right-handed pitcher in the Dodgers' minor league system.

Furcal is set to return

Shortstop Rafael Furcal will be activated for Tuesday's game at Chicago. But that means someone on the current roster has to go.

Torre isn't sure whom to move to make room for Furcal, who has been out because of a left hamstring injury since April 27 but seemed to be physically fine after playing in an extended spring training game Saturday.

Infielder Nick Green is the most likely candidate, but since he is out of options, he would have to clear waivers to go to the minors. And even then, he could reject that assignment and become a free agent.

Another choice is sending down starting second baseman Blake DeWitt, who has options, but that seems unlikely.

Sunday, Torre suggested that they could send a pitcher down since they won't need a fifth starter until later in the week.

"Right now we're looking to buy time, just to make sure, first off, that [Furcal] is fine, and just making a decision on what makes the most sense for us," Torre said.

Troncoso struggles

Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso has given up four earned runs and recorded only two outs in his last two appearances. Torre said it seems Troncoso is overthrowing the ball.

"It just didn't look like his ball was going north and south," Torre said, speaking of Troncoso's outing Saturday. "It was going east and west."

And finally

Dodgers outfielder Garret Anderson was two for four Sunday for his first multi-hit game of the season and first since Oct. 1, 2009. . . . Xavier Paul has batted .412 with four runs batted in since being recalled from triple-A Albuquerque on May 18. . . . DeWitt batted .381 in the seven-game homestand.

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