Colborn: Brown Is 'Ready to Go'

Kevin Brown, eager to rejoin the rotation, cleared his final hurdle Saturday in a bullpen session to test his stamina.

The right-hander said he did not experience pain in the partially torn muscle on his pitching elbow after throwing 80 pitches and taking four breaks to simulate a game.

Pitching coach Jim Colborn said the club's top pitcher was "ready to go" after watching him work at Turner Field.

Brown, sidelined almost six weeks, is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list to start Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium.

Although Brown has not pitched since he suffered the injury July 15 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, the Dodgers hope he can provide a boost in the stretch of the National League playoff races.

Brown does too.

"This is what it's all about," said Brown, 8-4 with a 2.95 earned-run average. "This is the nature of the business. This is what you're here for. As long as I can walk out there and feel like I've got any chance to help the team, I've got to go do it."

Colborn and Manager Jim Tracy had planned for Brown to face batters, but he convinced them that was not necessary.

"Basically, a good pitcher doesn't look at batters, he just throws the ball to the glove," Colborn said. "He has enough game experience to know what he has to do out there."

Brown pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief before starting the second time he was activated from the disabled list this season, but said he does not need to do that again.

"I don't think one inning out of the bullpen is going to prepare me any more for my job of going out and starting, so that's a moot issue," he said. "I've done just about everything I thought I could do.

"At some point in time, you've got to jump in the water and give it a whirl. That's where we're at."

Colborn agrees.

"His pitches are sharp and he's got good velocity," he said. "I just know he's ready."

Team medical personnel said that Brown will not further damage his elbow by pitching, but he might undergo surgery after the season.

"It's been better than I really expected," Brown said. "It is what it is at this point, so hopefully it stays.

"I don't think my expectations are going to change. I'm going to go about it the same way, and I'm going to go until it either quits or I'll do what I can as long as I can.

"Honestly, I would have loved to have been pitching a couple weeks ago, but they convinced me to take the time. Let's hope it pays off in the long run."

*

Struggling first base Eric Karros was benched for the third consecutive game in Saturday's 8-7 victory against the Atlanta Braves.

Dave Hansen started at first and was hitless in three at-bats with a run-scoring sacrifice fly.

*

Reliever Al Reyes was designated for assignment to make room for starter Luke Prokopec on the 25-man roster.

TODAY

DODGERS' ERIC GAGNE

(4-5, 4.71 ERA)

vs.

BRAVES' JOHN BURKETT

(10-8, 2.25 ERA)

Turner Field, 10 PDT

TV--Channel 5.

Radio--KXTA (1150) KWKW (1330).

Update--Gagne has been impressive in the second half, going 3-1 with a 3.63 earned-run average in eight starts. The right-hander has limited opponents to a .225 batting average. Burkett is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in four starts this month. He is 8-5 with a 3.89 ERA against the Dodgers.

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