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Colletti works through trip to Vegas

Times Staff Writer

Ned Colletti normally lives and dies with every ball, strike, bloop and blast during Dodgers games. For three days while the team was in Florida, though, he ducked over to Las Vegas.

Keno? Poker? Dice?

More like Kemp, Abreu and Brazoban.

Colletti didn’t get away from baseball. The Dodgers’ general manager watched his parent club on television, then went to the ballpark to watch prospects play triple-A games.

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He wanted to learn firsthand whether Yhency Brazoban should be promoted when the Dodgers increase the pitching staff from 11 to 12. He wanted to see the progress of Tony Abreu in his crash course at third base. He wanted to watch Matt Kemp play the outfield, make throws and lay off the curveball in the dirt.

And Colletti’s phone was glued to his ear the entire time, talking to other teams about potential trades. The Dodgers haven’t acquired the power hitter they need, but it isn’t because he hasn’t tried.

“A lot of guys around baseball with histories of hitting well are off to poor starts,” Colletti said.

He smells bargains, but other general managers aren’t rubes.

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“Teams are reluctant to talk because their guy could revert back to what he was his whole career,” Colletti said.

Colletti wouldn’t discuss individual players, but several power-hitting third basemen aren’t hitting well. Ryan Zimmerman has one home run, Garrett Atkins and Scott Rolen each have two, and Joe Crede, Casey Blake and David Wright each have three. The highest batting average among those players is .257.

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Colletti flew back to L.A. on Friday morning and the 51s immediately had a letdown, falling behind Oklahoma, 17-0, after 3 1/2 innings a few hours later.

Top prospect Greg Miller has regressed after a promising spring. The left-hander faced only five batters in his start Friday, walking four, hitting one, throwing two wild pitches and balking.

Miller, whose fastball was clocked at 97 mph a few weeks ago, has given up only 12 hits in 23 2/3 innings, but has walked 32 and hit six batters.

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Jason Schmidt felt good a day after unexpectedly throwing 20 pitches from the mound and is scheduled to throw again in the bullpen today. Trainer Stan Conte estimated Schmidt threw at 80% effort Thursday.... Doctors removed three bone chips and cleaned scar tissue from utility player Marlon Anderson’s right elbow during an arthroscopic procedure Friday. Anderson is expected to be sidelined at least two months.... Hong-Chih Kuo will make his first relief appearance at Las Vegas today. The left-hander has made three starts there since recovering from a shoulder injury, but the Dodgers want him to move to the bullpen temporarily to become an option when they go to 12 pitchers.... Russell Martin is one of the Dodgers who plans to use a pink bat Sunday to promote the battle against breast cancer.... Derek Lowe was credited with a complete game when he gave up the walk-off home run to Josh Willingham in the ninth inning Thursday, and it was the first Dodgers complete game since Lowe pitched one June 22, 2006. The walk-off homer was only the second against a starting pitcher in the last three years and the first by a Dodgers starter since Delino DeShields hit one against Mike Morgan in 1991.

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steve.henson@latimes.com


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