Dodgers, Beimel Exchange $ Figures

Dodger lefthanded reliever Joe Beimel, who has become an almost-indispensable part of their bullpen, has asked the Dodgers for $2.15 million and the club has offered $1.7 million. Last winter, the Dodgers won the arbitration and Beimel settled for $912,500 instead of the $1.2 million he had been seeking.

The Dodgers convinced a panel of arbitrators on the premise that Beimel cut his hand on a broken glass while drinking in a bar two nights before the series opener and was therefore unavailable for the National League Championship Series with the NY Mets.

In 2007, Beimel posted a 3.88 ERA in a career-high 83 appearances, held left-handed hitters to a .188 average and allowed just 10 of 57 inherited runners to score last season.

After dealing with his ill-advised drinking episode in October 2006 with class, grace and complete contrition, Beimel was a model citizen in 2007 while making the most relief appearances by a lefty in Dodgers history.

Reliever Scott Proctor, the Dodgers' only other pending arbitration case, filed at $1.3 million while the club filed at $930,000. Proctor, who is arbitration-eligible for the first time, made $445,923 last season, when the Dodgers acquired him from the New York Yankees on July 31. He had a 3.38 ERA in 31 appearances for the Dodgers after that trade.

Outfielder Jason Repko, who is expected to compete with Delwyn Young in spring training for the fifth outfielder's spot, avoided arbitration by agreeing early in the day to a one-year deal worth a reported $487,500. He gets a raise of almost $150,000 from his 2007 salary of $338,000, which he received in full despite missing the entire season with a hamstring injury he suffered in a spring-training game.

Podres Laid to Rest-- Johnny Podres, who pitched the Brooklyn Dodgers to their only World Series championship in 1955, was remembered as a consummately confident player, supportive coach and a man with a limitless love for baseball.

Podres died Sunday at age 75 after years of heart and kidney problems. He was eulogized in a little church of the chilly shores of Lake Champlain, near where he grew up as the son of an iron miner and where he later retired.

"John no longer is going to suffer," Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, Podres' former Dodgers roommate, told a packed church audience that included Red Sox star Curt Schilling and Don Zimmer. "He's up there right now with Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Carl Furillo, [Don] Drysdale. He's up there right now wanting to know when he's going to pitch."

Lasorda said eulogizing his old friend was tough. But he got the crowd of more than 100 laughing when he told them how he went to Coney Island one Opening Day with Podres and Zimmer and won a car full of stuffed animals at a pitching game. They sold the animals.

Podres was a lefty on a Brooklyn Dodgers team loaded with big stars such as Robinson, Reese and Hodges. His moment came days after his 23rd birthday, during Game 7 of the 1955 World Series against the Yankees.

Philadelphia Phillies co-owner Bill Giles said Podres' strength was pumping up pitchers, even when they were getting hit hard. He said Podres once walked to the mound when the Phillies were losing 8-0 to tell Mark Davis: "Mark, Mark, I cannot believe this. You have great stuff! Now hang in there, baby!"

Outside the church after the service, Schilling said he met Podres not long after he lost his father. Schilling said Podres "helped me grow up. He taught me a whole lot more than baseball," Schilling said.

China series-- Dodgers manager Joe Torre and San Diego Hall of Famer Dave Winfield are scheduled to appear at a reception Thursday in Beijing to announce Major League Baseball's first games in China, a two-game exhibition between the Dodgers and Padres on March 15-16, marking Major League Baseball's first games in China, a team spokesman said Friday.

The Dodgers squad will split the squad for a week with part of the team going to China, leaving on March 11. They will play the Padres at Wukesong Stadium in Beijing, which will be used for the Olympic baseball competition in August. The rest of the squad will finish the abbreviated schedule in Vero Beach, finishing with a final home game on March 17 and a game at Jupiter on the following day.

They will then fly to Phoenix to meet with the group that played in Chica and will finish spring training in the Cactus League, using the Oakland Athletics' facility in Phoenix as its base.

Their stadium will be available because the A's will be playing a season-opening series against the Boston Red Sox in Tokyo.

Some of the team's veterans already have said privately that they'd prefer not to make the trip.

"We're going to send a representative group," Torre said. "I think the group over in China will be pleased and Major League Baseball will be pleased with the group we send over. We certainly need to leave players back in Vero too, because we represent the Dodgers in Vero."

The Dodgers are expected to move their spring training home to Glendale, Ariz., in 2009. Their final game in Vero Beach this spring, and perhaps ever, will be a split-squad game against Houston on March 17.

Lamb Promoted-- The Dodgers have promoted Marty Lamb, an area scout based in Lexington, Kentucky, to East Coast Supervisor. When John Barr recently left his job as LA's East Coast scouting supervisor to become the Giants scouting director, Lamb was promoted to take over the position.

Matt Paul, a former Dodgers second base prospect and the older brother of current outfield prospect Xavier Paul, will join the organization's scouting staff and take over Lamb's territory of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and parts of Indiana.

Lamb has been with the organization for the past nine seasons. He began a remarkable run in 2003. Lamb, who scouted the Midwest plus Kentucky and Tennessee for the Dodgers, was concentrating in Ohio that year on a pitcher that many had felt would go early in the draft but who was slipping badly because of a so-so senior year. Lamb never lost his focus though and the Dodgers came up with Chad Billingsley in the first round as a result.

Lamb was previously selected the 2007 Dodgers Dugout/LADugout.com Scout of the Year, the 22nd scout so honored in an award started in 1986. Along with Billingsley, Lamb scouted and signed Cory Wade, Bryan Morris, Preston Mattingly and James Adkins over the past four years.

The award is named after the first Dodger scout in history, Larry Sutton, who was hired by Charlie Ebbets in 1909. Ill health finally forced him to retire in 1939 and he died June 28, 1944 at the age of 86.

There wasn't to be any first-rounder for Marty in 2004 or any early-rounder for that matter but he had spotted a player at Kentucky Wesleyan University, an infielder who had been used some in relief. Lamb felt he had the arm to have a real chance as a pitcher so they selected Cory Wade in the 10th round. He's now on the 40-man roster.

In 2006, the Dodgers made Clayton Kershaw from Texas their first choice but they also had another first-rounder plus a supplemental pick for losing Jeff Weaver. Here they once again moved in the direction of Lamb-scouted players.

With their second first-rounder they took righthander Bryan Morris from Motlow State Community College in Tennessee. He went on to be named the top prospect in the Pioneer League in a Baseball America poll. He spent last season rehabbing after Tommy John surgery but should be ready to go in 2008.

With the supplemental choice they selected still another of Lamb's prospects, infielder Preston Mattingly from Evansville, Ind. It was quite a scouting coup at the time, for the Yankees, Red Sox and Twins were all poised to make Don's son their next selection had the Dodgers not swooped in. Although Mattingly the younger has had little baseball experience, it's the Dodgers feelings that his athleticism will carry him to the top.

In 2007, with a supplemental pick gained by the loss of Julio Lugo, the Dodgers came up with James Adkins who went on to Great Lakes where he pitched very well.

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