Borders Won't Be Home for his Birthday

It looks like Pat Borders won't be getting to celebrate his birthday with the family as planned. Pat will be 43 on Sunday which not only makes him the oldest active player in the Dodger system but just about the oldest player anywhere this side of Julio Franco.

Signed as a free agent over the winter , Pat was told at the end of spring training that he was being sent to Las Vegas where he would back up catcher Russell Martin and stand by if an emergency arose in Los Angeles. That's the sort of situation that he'd become accustomed to over the past few years, mostly with Seattle.

However, this time, he suggested that if he had to be in the minors, he'd like it to be at Vero Beach. That would put him close to his sprawling vegetable ranch outside Lake Wales, Fla, where he and wife Kathy live with their seven children. It was agreed to accomodate him in this request so he started the year with Vero, commuting from home each night.

It's a two-hour drive over two lanes all the way but, he allowed, "It beats going to a motel room and watching TV every night. I get to see the kids every day."

But, now, with Martin having been promoted to L.A., Pat's been sent to Las Vegas, this time to assist Edwin Bellorin with the catching duties. It is expected to be an assignment of about two weeks but that might depend upon how well Martin performs in the National League.

This was just one of several player moves made Thursday. Another , utility man Jimmy Rohan, joined Borders in escaping from the depths that Vero has fallen into by being sent up to Jacksonville. His place on the Vero roster has been taken by infielder Adolfo Gonzalez, who had been in the extended camp.

Also, Jon Meloan, who had been rehabbing a sore arm, is recovered and was dispatched to Columbus which had a pitching vacancy caused by the promotion of Alberto Bastardo to Vero Beach earlier in the week.

Meloan, considred a starting pitcher, was assigned to the Catfish bullpen as he builds his arm strength back. The righthander, drafted in the fifth round from the University of Arizona last June, made an impressive debut Thursday, striking out five of the six men he faced.

Bastardo's place in the Catfish rotation has been assigned to righthander Cory Wade.