Dodgers Make Ishii for Phillips Deal

<b>VERO BEACH, Florida</b>--The rumored trade of Dodger lefty Kazuhisa Ishii to the New York Mets became reality Sunday afternoon bringing catcher Jason Phillips to Los Angeles.

"In Jason we are getting a solid young catcher that knows how to handle the pitching staff," Dodger Executive Vice President and General Manager Paul DePodesta said. "Offensively, he has proven to be a patient hitter that can drive the ball to all fields as well as hit the ball out of the ballpark. He is someone we have targeted for quite some time."

Phillips, 28, has a lifetime .262 average with 19 home runs and 95 RBI over parts of four seasons with the Mets. Over 88 games behind the plate, his .998 fielding percentage was tied for second in the Majors among catchers. He threw out 19 of 61 (31%) base runners attempting to steal, fourth best in the National league among catchers with at least 50 stolen base attempts.

Phillips batted .218 last seasn in 362 at-bats with seven homers and 34 RBI. In 2003, he batted .298 with 11 home runs and 58 RBI over 119 games and 403 at-bats. He was second among national League rookies with a .373 OBP, third in RBI (58) and slugging (.442).

Ishii went 13-8 last season for the Dodgers with a 4.71 ERA in 172 innings. He gave up 155 hits, struck out 99 and walked 98. He has a 36-25 record and a 4.30 ERA over 86 starts in three seasons for the Dodgers. The native of Japan signed a free agent contract with the Dodgers before the 2002 season after spending 10 years with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League.

The Dodgers played a split-squad doubleheader Sunday afternoon, meeting Washington in Dodgertown meeting the Mets in St. Lucie. It wasn't a good day in either city with Los Angeles losing both games.

Nationals win 9-3--Grand slam home run in the eighth inning broke open a 4-3 game and gave the Washington National a 9-3 victory at Dodgertown. Scott Erickson worked six strong innings and could have been unscored upon but did give up three earned runs.

Washington scored twice in the second inning. Erickson gave up a single and a drive to left field that was misjudged into a double, then nearly got out of the inning when JD Drew, playing center field, made a strong throw to the plate to hold the runner at third.

Erickson got the second out with a strikeout but a two-run single broke the 0-0 tie. A passed ball by rookie catcher Dioner Navarro moved the runner to second and the National's pitcher singled to left. In a close play at the plate, Navarro couldn't get a hold the throw and the Dodgers were quickly in a 3-0 hole.

Erickson gave up only one other hit during his six innings and it resulted in a run of the unearned variety. An error at third base by Antonio Perez was followed by a single to right that ran through Milton Bradley, allowing the fourth run to cross the plate. He finished his six innings of work having allowed seven hits and three unearned runs.

Los Angeles broke through in the seventh inning. Joe Thurston dropped a single into center and with one out Norihiro Nakamura walked. Mike Edwards singled to left, scoring Thurston and pinch-hitter Henri Stanley singled to center to give the Dodgers their second run. Tony Schrager lined a single to center to close the gap to 4-3 but Perez fanned to end the inning.

Mike Venafro opened he eighth by walking the first batter and giving up a double. He walked the next batter to load the bases and was excused for the rest of the afternoon.

Harold Eckert took over with the bases FON (full of Nationals). His first pitch was lined over the left field fence to clear the bases and a run-scoring single followed to put the Dodgers in a 9-3 hole.

Yhency Brazoban worked a scoreless ninth and Los Angeles went quietly in the ninth.

A couple of players who have had less than normal success at the plate perked up. Cesar Izturis neatly stroked a couple of hits to boost his average to .241 and Bradley was two-for-three and his now hitting .259.

Catcher David Ross was 0-for-2 and is hitless in 17 times at-bat this spring. With the trade for catcher Jason Phillips of New York announced during the game, Ross' future with the Dodgers is cloudy. Rookies Dioner Navarro (Las Vegas) and Russell Martin (Jacksonville) are the future of the team's catching corps so Ross, who turned 28 yesterday, may be on the trading block.

ST. LUCIE, Florida--The Dodgers rallied from a 6-1 deficit to take a 9-6 lead into the last of the ninth but the Mets pounced on Aquilino Lopez for four runs to take a 10-9 decision.

DJ Houlton started for Los Angeles but was unusually wild, walking six, throwing a wild pitch and allowing four hits. He left the game in the fourth inning trailing 5-1.

Ryan Rupe got the Dodgers out of trouble in the fourth but allowed a run in the sixth and left the game trailing 6-1.

Kelly Wunsch and rookie Jeff Schmoll kept the Mets at bay, handing he game to Lopez in the ninth. He struggled, allowing four hits and four runs, including a one out, three-run, game-winning homer.

Olmedo Sanenz, who played both first and third base, led the Dodger offense, banging a single and his first spring homer run, knocking in three. Jose Flores added a homer and Ricky Ledee and Mike Rose chipped in with doubles.

Jason Repko continued to batter the ball, lining a pair of singles in five trips, and is leading the Dodger batters with a .415 average (17-for-41) and in slugging percentage (.610).

Dodger Blue Notes--The Dodgers sent RHP Orlando Rodriguez to Jacksonville and OF Cody Ross to Las Vegas. … Jayson Werth is playing catch and swinging a bat but tentatively and is still some time away from seeing action. … Stopper Eric Gagne wants to see his first action Monday against Boston but officials are not guaranteeing his appearance. Odalis Perez will make his first pitching start Tuesday against the Florida Marlins in Viera. … Brad Penny pitched batting practice for the first time this spring but pitching coach Jim Colburn noted that it didn't indicate he was ready to see action in a game. … Manager Jim Tracy left the club Sunday evening to attend the funeral service for Don Schaly, his coach at Marietta (Ohio) College and will miss the game with Boston. …