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Perez Gets Sympathy

Times Staff Writer

Airing grievances in the media is rarely advisable for a ballplayer, but it does get the attention of management.

Pitcher Odalis Perez was summoned for a closed-door meeting with General Manager Ned Colletti and Manager Grady Little, one day after delivering an extended rant on how he believes he has been mistreated and underused by the Dodgers.

Yet rather than discipline Perez, who has pitched poorly for more than two months, Colletti and Little gave him a sympathetic ear.

“We all realize the guy is in a situation he’s never been in before,” Little said. “We understand his feelings and concerns. He in turn has to respect what we are trying to do.

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“He was frustrated after a ballgame. You can take that for what it is.”

Perez gave up a walk-off home run to Albert Pujols in the 14th inning Thursday. Despite getting roughed up out of the bullpen, he wants his berth in the starting rotation back.

“He may be given that opportunity in the future, but it won’t be today,” Little said.

Colletti has had no luck trading Perez, who is owed about $15 million through next season. The best the Dodgers can hope for is that he pitches more effectively.

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“It was a positive exchange,” Colletti said. “Hopefully there will be a positive result.”

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Bill Mueller has been in the Dodgers dugout in uniform the last two days, but the playing field is as far away as it has been since he injured his right knee in May. The veteran third baseman joined the team for the two-city trip because he grew up near St. Louis and currently lives near Phoenix.

He hasn’t found an answer to his knee problems, despite exhaustive efforts. “I need a procedure to come back, but I haven’t found out what that procedure is yet,” he said. “I’m searching around.”

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A doctor in Boston recently suggested that Mueller undergo mosaicplasty, a procedure in which cartilage from elsewhere on the knee is moved to the damaged area. Purposely breaking the leg to trigger the body’s natural healing process is another high-risk alternative.

Mueller, who is under contract through next season, is skeptical because he isn’t sure any of the procedures would allow him to play again. He has already had three operations on the knee.

“It’s been traumatized a lot,” he said. “But I’m very positive about [my career] not being over. It’s a challenge and I’m not going to give up.”

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Pitcher Brett Tomko (strained abdominal muscle) is eligible to come off the disabled list but is at least two weeks away from returning. He hopes to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment when the Dodgers begin a homestand in a week.


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