Dario Veras Reunited With the Dodgers

   VERO BEACH, Fla.- Dario Veras' name disappeared from the official baseball record books after the 2001 season. That does not mean that he disappeared into a black hole nor has he been in the witness protection program. No, he's been on the mound, maybe not here but there and everywhere else.

   "I've been pitching in Taiwan and Mexico," Dario explained to someone curious about his seeming long absence. He's also been pitching winter ball back home in the Dominican Republic.

  The official re-emergence of Veras has begun this spring at Dodgertown where he's another of the non-roster invitees competing for a job.  It's not only his return to baseball in the U.S. but also to the Dodger organization.

  Dario was originally signed for the Dodgers by Pablo Pegeuero as an infielder in 1990. It didn't take long before they decided his future was best on the mound for the very next season he made the switch. The Padres took him away in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft after the 1993 season and he made it up to the National League for them in 1996.

   He was a very effective righthander out of the bullpen for them that season but soon arm troubles began limiting him. The Padres let him go to the Red Sox, he drifted to the Royals, then had Tommy John surgery on his elbow. His return from that wasn't all that favorable so, despite a 5-1 record with Buffalo in 2001, he was cast adrift again, this time to begin his journeys to foreign lands to find gainful employment in the game.
  This past winter, his arm problems well in the past, he was throwing very well so Ralph Avila, who knew him  well when he was with the Dodgers before, took a chance on him and signed him for this trial.

   Dario's 34 now and he wants to show the folks on these shores that he's still a valuable commodity and he's willing to do what it takes to accomplish that. "I'll pitch anywhere they want me to," he avows. "If they want me to go to Vegas and help out there, I'll do it."

   The usual convert from a position to the mound is a husky sort with a big fast ball if nothing else- a Felix Rodriguez  type. Dario, though, carries just 155 pounds on his 6-1 frame. His fast ball rides in at about 90 mph and he also has a curve and change up.

  He doesn't favor any one of those. "It depends on the situation and who's up there," he explains. "I try not to give them the same look all the time."

  He knows his chances of fitting into the Los Angeles scheme at this time are almost nil. If he shows that he can help out in the pen down lower though he might just stick around. At least long enough to get into the record books again.

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