Saenz, Hernandez, Hillenbrand Free Agents

The team's longest-tenured player, Olmedo Saenz, refused an outright assignment to the minor league's, cleared waivers and officially became a free agent. He was acquired at the trade deadline in 2004. Shea Hillenbrand and veteran reliever Roberto Hernandez followed his lead and General Manager Ned Colletti said the club won't try to re-sign any of them.

Saenz, who turned 37 last week, reached the end of a two-year, $2 million contract. He joined the club on a minor-league contract before the 2004 season, but made the team out of camp that spring and had been a fixture ever since. He had 49 pinch hits during his four seasons with the club, including eight home runs.

In 2007, Saenz hit just .191 overall and went 14 for 63 (.222) as a pinch hitter, including a 10th-inning walkoff homer to beat Toronto on June 8. Saenz slugging percentage fell more than 200 points from 2006.

Saenz's departure leaves pitcher Brad Penny, who was acquired on July 30, 2004, as the Dodgers' longest-tenured player.
Top 10 Dodger pinch-hitters:
110- Dave Hansen
106- Manny Mota
 52- Chris Gwynn
 49- Olmedo Saenz
 44- Mitch Webster
 43- Duke Snider
 39- Mike Sharperson
 37- Mickey Hatcher
 34- Rick Monday
 33- George Shuba
 33- Lee Lacy

Top 10 Single-Season leaders:
18- Dave Hansen, 1993
17- Mitch Webster, 1992
16- Sid Gatreaux, 1936
15- Manny Mota, 1974 & 1979
15- Ed Goodson, 1976
15- Dave Hansen, 2000
14- Manny Mota, 1977
14- Terry Whitfield, 1985
14- Mickey Hatcher, 1990
Hillenbrand and Hernandez, second-half pickups this season, did not have impressive seasons. Hernandez, 43 next month, was picked up in midseason after being released by Cleveland. The one-time closer with 326 career saves had a 6.64 ERA in 22 games with the Dodgers.

Hillenbrand, 32, was signed after being released by San Diego and was promoted to the Dodgers when Nomar Garciaparra injured his calf. He hit .243 with one home run and nine RBIs in 20 games with the Dodgers.

Other Dodgers expected to become free agents after the World Series are Luis Gonzalez, Rudy Seanez, Mark Sweeney and David Wells. The Dodgers have 2008 options on Mike Lieberthal, Ramon Martinez and Randy Wolf.

Pierre Defers Question-- Center fielder Juan Pierre, whose weak throwing arm resulted in the opponent's taking a large number of extra bases during the season, wasn't all that happy about the rumor he may be moving to left field in 2008.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said. "I don't know."

But he did boost his average with a late-season surge to .293 with a .331 on-base percentage. He scored 96 runs and stole 64 bases.

Pierre said he played left field while in the Colorado Minor League system when Choo Freeman was the center fielder.

Prospects Improving-- Farm director DeJon Watson reports that pitchers Scott Elbert (shoulder) and Bryan Morris (elbow) are recovering from operations without setbacks and are participating in the Arizona Instructional League.

He said Elbert has started tossing, while Morris (who had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery late last year) is throwing 93 mph. Tim Hamulack, who had Tommy John surgery this year, also has begun playing catch.

Top pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw also is in Arizona working on secondary pitches, Lukas May is continuing to refine his catching skills and Preston Mattingly is working on second-base skills.

Former Minor Leaguer Honored-- Randal Alan "Randy Wadsworth" will enter the California University of Pennsylvania Athletic Hall of Fame as and was labeled "the best athlete that ever played for me" by his former coach.

Wadsworth, who played professionally in the Los Angeles Dodgers system, is humbled by the honor he will formally receive Oct. 19 at the 13th annual Hall of Fame ceremonies. He transferred to Cal U from Robert Morris College when that school dropped its baseball program in 1985. In 1986 as the Vulcans' catcher and leadoff hitter, Wadsworth batted a team-high .377 and also led the team in hits (52), runs scored (36) and home runs (seven). In 1987, Wadsworth hit .380 and tied the single-season home record with 11. His 56 RBIs that season is still a co-school record.

He was chosen by the Dodgers as a catcher in the 24th round of the Major League Baseball draft in 1987 and was assigned to Great Falls, Mont.

"I played there for about a month before being transferred to Sarasota (Florida)," he recalled. "In my third or fourth game catching, I was involved in a collision at the plate with a guy in the Yankees organization. He ran right through me. It broke my collarbone, and I was pretty much done for the year."

The Dodgers released Wadsworth not long after the incident. Instead of attempting to continue a baseball career, Wadsworth opted to go back to school and complete his education.

Stadium renovation-- Demolition of the Field Level at Dodger Stadium took place this week, clearing the way for a $70 million renovation of the ballpark that will focus on bringing the concession stands and restrooms into the 21st Century.

Dodger History 101-- On this day, October 14, 1966, Sandy Koufax pitched his final game for the Dodgers, shutting out Minnesota 2-0 in the seventh game of the World Series. He had also shut the hard-hitting Twins out in the fifth game of the series, striking out 10 and limiting them to three hits. He got the only run he needed in the fourth inning when "Sweet Lou" Johnson homered off the foul pole to break up a 0-0 game.

Koufax finished the series with a 2-1 record and having allowed only one earned run in his 24 innings (0.38) of work, being named as the series MVBP for the second time in his career. Following the season he announced his retirement at the age of -- and five years later was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

October 14, 1968-- The Montreal Expos select two players in the expansion draft -- Maury Wills and Manny Mota. The players were traded back to the Dodgers on June 11, 1969 for Ron Fairly and Paul Popovich and became fixtures with the Dodgers, Wills becoming the Dodgers' all-time stolen base leader with 490 and Mota the franchise's all-time pinch-hit leader with 106.

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