Young pitcher making comeback

Coming back from adversity is something Andrew Brown has done before. Now he's taking strides along another return journey -- one that could prove to be very important in the Dodger future.

Brown underwent elbow surgery last year for the second time but has come back to work three impressive innings for the Dodgers this spring.

The always important aftermath of these performances has him pain-free and ready to embark on a more ambitious schedule. To that end he's been optioned to Jacksonville to be used as a starter.

A native of Ohio who has lived most of his life in Florida , the 6-6, 230-pound righthander who just celebrated his 23rd birthday Feb. 17th was originally a sixth-round draft pick of the Braves in 1999 but missed the entire 2000 season after the first surgery on his right elbow. He returned in 2001 to go 3-4, 3.92 for Jamestown in the NY-P League.

The Dodgers, who had been following him since high school, liked what they saw and obtained him along with Brian Jordan and Odalis Perez as part of the massive deal that sent Gary Sheffield to Atlanta.

He proved to be much more than a throw-in with a 10-10, 4.11 season for Vero Beach in 2002, showing enough to be promoted to the Los Angeles 40-man roster. After an excellent spring he was sent to Jacksonville only to feel twinges in his elbow again after just one scoreless inning in his initial start for the Suns. Eventually that led to another operation.

This spring though he's been throwing with an easy motion and has looked so good that Jim Tracy has pronounced him one of the top pitching prospects in the system along with Edwin Jackson, Greg Miller, and Joel Hanrahan. And with Miller now sidelined and the possibility of a trade involving young pitching, his recovery becomes even more paramount