Notes: Wells drops suspension appeal
Garciaparra has MRI exam on calf; honors for prospect Young
SAN DIEGO -- David Wells on Saturday suddenly dropped his appeal and began serving a seven-game suspension he received for arguing with an umpire while with the Padres.
The timing of the decision is rather odd, in that the Dodgers released Brett Tomko to insert Wells into the rotation for the stretch run and couldn't wait to get him on the mound, flying him cross-country to pitch in New York and bringing him back on five days' rest to pitch Friday night against the Padres while skipping Eric Stults.
But it does allow Wells and the club to control the suspension's impact. A hearing was to have been held Thursday in Chicago and even if it had been slightly reduced, Wells expected to miss one start.
The suspension also allows Wells a few extra days to rest his right quad, which he strained in his first Dodgers start in New York while chugging out a bunt single and appeared to re-injure while covering first base against the Padres on Friday night.
The decision means Wells will miss his Wednesday start in Chicago against the Cubs. Stults is expected to be recalled to make that start. Wells, who was in uniform Saturday before the game, is expected to make his next start, next Saturday in San Francisco.
Nomar's MRI: Disappointed with the slow healing of his strained left calf muscle, disabled infielder Nomar Garciaparra returned to Los Angeles to have an MRI exam. Manager Grady Little said it revealed nothing new.
"It's not a setback," he said. "But it's not as quick as we'd like. It's not completely gone yet."
The infielder has been disabled since Aug. 14, and can handle most baseball activities, but he has been unable to run. He has played in 110 of the club's 134 games with six home runs and 57 RBIs. Last season, he played in 122 games and hit 20 homers with 93 RBIs.
Rosters expand: The club purchased the contracts of catcher Chad Moeller, infielder Chin-lung Hu and pitcher Jonathan Meloan and recalled right-hander D.J. Houlton, who will be making his third trip to the Majors this season. Hu and Meloan will be making their Major League debuts this month after both started the season with Double-A Jacksonville.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the club transferred to the 60-day disabled list Yhency Brazoban, Chin-hui Tsao and Randy Wolf.
Stults is expected back when Triple-A Las Vegas' season ends Monday. Also expected are Andy LaRoche and Tony Abreu, players who earlier were good enough to get callups but since have been injured, LaRoche with a back disk and Abreu with a suspected sports hernia. Little said they were not promoted with Saturday's group to allow them a few extra games and innings in the remaining games for Las Vegas.
The most intriguing of the callups is Meloan, a hard-throwing reliever who began his career as a starter and said he would like to return to that job.
"Maybe down the road," he said. "I like to start. It's a better approach for me. I'm not worried about it. I'm here just to get my feet wet and see what it takes."
Honors for Young: Delwyn Young, earlier named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team, was chosen MVP of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. Young is hitting .334 with 17 homers, 90 RBIs and a franchise record 50 doubles, four shy of tying the modern-day Pacific Coast League record.
Honors for Kershaw: Top pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw was named best prospect by the Midwest League managers. Kershaw went 7-5 with a 2.77 ERA at Great Lakes and has since been promoted to Double-A Jacksonville.
Expensive commitment: The acquisition of pitcher Esteban Loaiza means the Dodgers have seven players under contract through the 2008 season with a financial commitment of $76.6 million (including salaries and pro-rated signing bonuses).
Four of those guaranteed salaries are for starting pitchers -- Loaiza, Derek Lowe, Brad Penny and Jason Schmidt. Schmidt's playing status is uncertain after season-ending shoulder surgery. Position players under contract are infielders Rafael Furcal and Garciaparra and outfielder Juan Pierre.
Factoring in his pro-rated signing bonus, Furcal will be the highest-paid of the group at $16 million, followed closely by Schmidt at $15.5 million. Schmidt and Pierre are the only ones of the group whose contracts are guaranteed beyond 2008.
Players with 2008 options are Jeff Kent, Mike Lieberthal, Ramon Martinez and Wolf.
Players eligible for salary arbitration after this season are relievers Joe Beimel, Brazoban, Mark Hendrickson, Scott Proctor and Tsao and outfielder Jason Repko.
Coming up: In Sunday's series finale, right-hander Chad Billingsley (9-4, 3.50 ERA) opposes Padres righty Justin Germano (6-7, 4.24 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PT.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.