04/20/2002 8:39 pm ET
Kevin Brown placed on 15-day DL
DL necessary to rest scar tissue tear; Mota called up
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Short a pitcher for six days and figuring they pushed their luck long enough, the Dodgers Saturday finally put Kevin Brown on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to last Sunday.
Brown walked off the mound in mid at-bat last Saturday night when scar tissue tore loose in his surgically repaired 37-year-old elbow, experiencing a burning sensation at the time and some swelling ever since. Team officials Friday said they would not disable Brown until they tested him throwing off a mound.
But General Manager Dan Evans changed his mind after Friday night's win over San Diego and had Brown's replacement, Guillermo Mota, flown into Los Angeles from Sacramento, where the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas was playing. When Brown arrived at the ballpark and the swelling was still present, the move was made official.
The reason, after officials resisted for several days, apparently is two-fold: the medical staff now can treat Brown's elbow without Wednesday's scheduled start looming as a deadline, and a bullpen that has not blown a save opportunity is back at full strength, at least numbers-wise.
"We really dodged the bullet for six days," said Evans. "We were getting lucky and I didn't want to wait one extra day and put our bullpen in disarray. You can only play with house money for so long. It was time to walk away from the table."
Brown, insistent that he is healthy, said he would be ready to pitch in a game before his stint on the disabled list is over.
"To me, I don't think it's (the elbow) an issue," said Brown, who later threw off the bullpen mound for the first time without incident. "I don't think my ability to throw is a problem there. But it's not worth risking an injury to the rest of the pitching staff. I can't argue with that. How can I argue if they feel it's in the best interests of the team?
"I can throw, but it's not something I can guarantee today. That being the case, they decided it's not worth the risk to the integrity of the team. Personally, I'd love to be out there pitching Wednesday. But if the team is at risk or the pitching staff's arms are at risk, I can't very well be upset about that.
"Personally, I can't tell there's anything (swelling) there. All that matters in my mind is how I feel on the mound, that's what it boils down to. And if it feels good on the mound and it feels good when I come off the mound and it still feels good the next day, that's going to be the deciding factor."
Brown's scheduled start Wednesday in Pittsburgh will go to Omar Daal, who pitched 6 1/3 innings and won Thursday night in place of Brown, allowing no earned runs. The soonest Brown would be eligible to pitch would be a week from Tuesday, when the Dodgers open their next homestand against Cincinnati.
Daal's move into the rotation left the club exposed in long relief. But whatever risk existed this week has been mitigated by the starting pitchers, who have pitched well enough and long enough to create three save situations that closing sensation Eric Gagne has converted.
But Manager Jim Tracy had gone to the bullpen nine times in the previous three games. With Odalis Perez starting Saturday night off a 128-pitch complete game in Coors Field and Andy Ashby starting Sunday after lasting only five innings in Coors Field, Tracy wanted a fresh arm for the weekend.
"I'm very excited and encouraged by our bullpen's ability to get the ball to Eric Gagne and I don't want that disrupted," Tracy said.
Tracy said he was encouraged that Brown's elbow was no worse after a rigorous workout Friday, but Dr. Frank Jobe has said any remaining swelling must be eliminated before Brown can return to game action.
Brown is trying to recover from September surgery to repair a torn flexor muscle. This is his fourth stint on the disabled list since last March.
Mota, a hard-throwing righthander obtained from Montreal in the Matt Herges trade last month, was 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA, one save, 12 strikeouts and three walks in 11 1/3 innings for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Ken Gurnick covers the Dodgers for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.