Hershiser’s Up, Gagne’s Down
The Dodgers alleviated roster problems with three swift moves Tuesday.
Struggling rookie starter Eric Gagne was optioned to triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Orel Hershiser, who will take his spot in the rotation after being recalled from his self-imposed stint at Class-A San Bernardino. Also, reliever Alan Mills was traded to the Baltimore Orioles with cash considerations for Al Reyes, a right-handed pitcher who will probably be sent to Albuquerque upon his arrival, in a deal that not only gave the Dodgers added roster flexibility, but financial flexibility as well.
“We are in a predicament of too many good pitchers and too many healthy arms,” Hershiser said. “It’s a good predicament to be in, as far as Davey [Johnson, the Dodger manager] and Kevin [Malone, the Dodger general manager] are concerned.”
Gagne, 24, is 1-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 10 appearances. He began the year in Albuquerque but was recalled on April 15.
“I think I tried to do too much and never really got into a groove,” said Gagne, who was told of the demotion Monday night. “But I’ll be back, I’ll be back real soon. I just have to go out there and bust my . . . again.
“I wish I could complain but I can’t. I know I didn’t pitch good enough.”
Johnson said Gagne’s inability to get into a groove stemmed, in part, from his not getting the starter enough steady work and being skipped in the rotation on occasion.
“His ceiling is so high and he was just fighting himself a little bit,” Johnson said. “He was throwing a lot of pitches for five innings. If he’s throwing 120 pitches, I need him in the eighth inning, eighth or ninth.”
Hershiser, 41, will start Friday’s game against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals while Gagne is starting for the Dukes against Oklahoma City.
Mills, 33, who spent seven seasons with the Orioles before signing a three-year, $6.5-million contract with the Dodgers as a free agent on Nov. 13, 1998, had been the subject of trade rumors since spring training.
“I hadn’t been thinking about it lately,” said Mills, who is 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA in 18 games. “But that’s usually the way it happens.
“Last year, if this had happened, I would have been the happiest person in L.A. I wasn’t happy here. But I like the makeup of this team. It has a good chance of winning.”
The Dodgers did not disclose the exact amount of the cash considerations but a baseball source said the amount was $1.75 million of the remainder of Mills’ salary. Mills will make $2.25 million this season and $3 million next.
Also, according to an industry rule, teams picking up at least $1 million of a traded player’s salary must inform Major League Baseball. Last season, the Dodgers were penalized after failing to inform the powers that be after picking up such a tab in trading Dave Mlicki to the Detroit Tigers on April 16.
Malone said no such mistake was made this time around.
“We did get approval from Major League Baseball to complete this transaction,” Malone said. “We went through the proper channels to get this deal done.”
Reyes, 28, is 1-0 with a 6.92 ERA in 13 relief appearances for Baltimore.
Bob Lenaghan, assistant general counsel for the Players’ Association, will begin meeting today with Dodger players fined and suspended for their roles in the Wrigley Field melee on May 16, according to agent Scott Boras.
“We want to get all the facts out there,” Boras said, “and educate everyone on who these people are, what they were doing in the stands. On the video, all you see is the result.
“The truth is, a vast majority of the Dodgers [that went into the stands] kept it from getting worse. They were acting in the best interest.”
(4-2, 5.16 ERA)
(10-1, 1.42 ERA)
Dodger Stadium, 7
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* Update--If Perez can beat four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux, surely he can give the reigning Cy Young winner a game, right? Perez thinks so. Perez is 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in five games against Arizona. He did not receive a decision in the Dodgers’ 11-7, 12-inning loss on May 9 in Phoenix. Johnson, who missed a start two weeks ago with discomfort in his pitching shoulder, is 1-2 in five games against the Dodgers and did not earn a decision in his showdown with Kevin Brown on May 10, a 2-1 Diamondback win.