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Martinez Goes on 60-Day Disabled List; Beltre Is Called Up

After the Angels’ 6-4 victory Tuesday, the Dodgers put right-hander Ramon Martinez on the 60-day disabled list because he’s scheduled to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Tuesday.

Infielder Alex Cora was optioned to triple-A Albuquerque, and the team purchased the contract of third baseman Adrian Beltre from double-A San Antonio. Beltre, 20, is rated among the top five prospects in the minor leagues by several publications.

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And on the fourth day, Angel closer Troy Percival rested. No matter what happened against the Dodgers, Manager Terry Collins was not going to use his prized right-hander for a fourth consecutive game, and for once, Percival was not about to argue.

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“The workload has kept me sharp, but after so many games you lose some velocity,” said Percival, who pitched in six of the previous eight games. “You need some time to refuel.”

Outside of Cleveland, there may be no better team for Percival to take a pit stop against than the Dodgers. Of the 22 home runs Percival has given up in his 3 1/2-year career, seven have been hit by the Indians in 16 innings.

But in three innings against the Dodgers, Percival has given up three homers, all in the ninth inning. Todd Zeile and Eric Karros beat him last season, and Matt Luke’s solo shot in the top of the ninth Monday night tied a game the Angels eventually won, 6-5.

“As soon as he hit that I thought, ‘Geez, can we ever get through a ninth inning without them hitting a home run against us?’ ” Collins said.

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Percival wasn’t concerned about any pattern. “Somebody’s always going to get you more than someone else,” he said. Besides, it wasn’t as if Percival got beat with a bad pitch. Luke belted a ball that was over the plate but just below his knees.

“Anyone who can hit a pitch below his knees out of the park, you tip your hat to him and move on,” Percival said. “He hit a good one.”

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Some rare good news on the Angel injury front: Todd Greene might not need arthroscopic shoulder surgery, after all, and it’s possible the catcher-turned-first baseman/designated hitter could play this season.

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Greene last week had resigned himself to season-ending surgery, but after consulting with several physicians, he believes his shoulder, with rest and rehabilitation, may eventually be strong enough to play first base and hit. He won’t make a decision until he meets with Dr. James Andrews on Thursday.

It’s probably no coincidence that Greene had a change of heart--and shoulder--on the same weekend DH Tim Salmon’s injured left foot flared up to a point where he needed a cortisone shot Monday night. Salmon is not expected to play for several days.

“What it means is we may not have to shut down Todd so he’s no longer in the picture,” Collins said. “If something does happen to Tim, he might be able to salvage something out of this season.”

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Angel pitcher Chuck Finley, tonight’s starter, can empathize with the Dodgers this season. “They’re going through the same thing we’ve gone through in the past, where you feel like you’re in limbo, and maybe the trades you’ve made aren’t working out so well,” Finley said.

“You know, there ought to be a rule in baseball, that if you’re so many games out by Aug. 1, like 22 games or something, you just pack it in and go home. Save yourself the misery. That way they can set the fields up for football. Lord knows, I would have saved about two years worth of games.”

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With interim General Manager Tom Lasorda now in charge of player-personnel matters, many Dodger fans believe the team will reacquire all-star catcher Mike Piazza.

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“I never say never about anything,” Lasorda said during his second day on the job. “You never know what might happen in life, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“I think Mike is very happy back there [in New York], and I think he’s going to sign with the Mets. Yeah, Vince [Piazza] is a good friend, but I don’t think that will be part of Mike’s decision.”

TONIGHT’S PITCHERS

DODGERS’ DARREN DREIFORT

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(4-6, 3.55 ERA)

vs.

ANGELS’ CHUCK FINLEY

(7-4, 2.74 ERA)

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Dodger Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

* Update--With Ramon Martinez scheduled for shoulder surgery next week and out for the season, Dreifort has become the Dodgers’ most dependable starter, though his record doesn’t reflect how well he has pitched. Since moving from the bullpen to the rotation, the right-hander has 65 strikeouts and 22 walks in 76 1/3 innings in 12 starts. Before Monday night, the Dodger bullpen had given up seven earned runs in 31 innings over eight games, for a 2.03 ERA, but two relievers--Scott Radinsky and Greg McMichael--were tagged for four earned runs Monday night, and McMichael, Mark Guthrie and Jim Bruske combined to walk four in the fateful ninth inning. Dodger second baseman Eric Young, who sat out six games because of a right quadriceps strain, returned to the lineup in the DH spot Tuesday night.


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