Gagne will have another operation on his right elbow Friday at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles to remove a nerve that has been causing problems. The Dodgers announced no timetable for his return, but the recovery from last June's surgery to manipulate that nerve was six to eight months.
Gagne's 2005 season ended with that June 24 surgery. When he went into the operating room, Gagne was expecting to have "Tommy John" ligament-replacement surgery (his second). But Drs. Frank Jobe and Ralph Gambardella found the ligament intact and instead removed scar tissue and relocated a nerve.
Gagne returned to pitch this spring, but he was clearly not fully recovered. His fastball topped out between 90 and 92 mph, well below his previous average.
Danys Baez, acquired from the Devil Rays as insurance this winter, will replace Gagne as the Dodgers' closer.
New kids on the block: Joel Guzman was moved from shortstop to left field and made a run at jumping from Double-A to the majors this spring... C Russell Martin lost out in competition with Dioner Navarro for the big-league job but looks as if he will be a better player in the long run... RHP Chad Billingsley will get his feet wet in Triple-A this season - but probably not for long... 1B James Loney is exceptional defensively and has progressed at the plate. He'll see plenty of action while Nomar Garciaparra is on the disabled list.
The Trainer's Room: OF Jayson Werth had wrist surgery in November, and the pins were removed in January. He is not expected back until May at the earliest... SS Cesar Izturis had "Tommy John" ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow in September. The early prognosis was that he would not return until after the All-Star break, but Izturis' recovery is well ahead of schedule... CF Kenny Lofton has a strained calf muscle and opened the season on the DL... 1B Nomar Garciaparra suffered a strained ribcage muscle and landed on the DL. He hopes to be back in two weeks... RHP Eric Gagne will undergo a second surgery on his right elbow. No timetable for his return has been announced.
The Numbers Game: 15-10-3 - Dodgers' Grapefruit League record this spring, their first winning spring record since 2001.
He said what? "I think we are the poster child for a team that needs to stay healthy. Every team says that. But to me, that's everything for us." - RHP Derek Lowe on the Dodgers' prospects in 2006.
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