Last gasp for Dodgers? Wells 'excited to help'
Wells and the Dodgers agreed to a contract Thursday and the big lefty plans to make his first start for Los Angeles on Sunday night against the Mets in New York.
The 44-year-old Wells was designated for assignment by his hometown San Diego Padres on Aug. 9 and placed on release waivers four days later. He cleared waivers last Thursday and became a free agent.
The Dodgers will be his ninth team in a 21-year major league career.
"David's excited to have an opportunity to continue his career with a team that has such a storied history,'' said Wells' agent, Gregg Clifton. "He's excited to help any way he can to get the Dodgers back to the playoffs.''
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said through team spokesman Josh Rawitch that the club had nothing to announce Thursday night.
Wells, nicknamed Boomer, struggled in his last four starts with San Diego, going 0-3 with a 14.33 ERA. Overall, he was 5-8 with a 5.54 ERA this season.
Padres general manager Kevin Towers said the club gave Wells the option of retiring or being designated for assignment.
The outspoken Wells plans to join the Dodgers on Friday in New York, where he was once a fan favorite with the Yankees, and start Sunday night against the NL East-leading Mets in a nationally televised game, Clifton said.
"This is the right situation, a team on the West Coast that's a playoff contender. He's looking forward to it,'' Clifton said. "David always likes to be a member of a veteran team that has a chance to make the playoffs.''
Beset by injuries to its pitching staff, Los Angeles was two games out of the NL wild-card lead after a 5-2 victory at Philadelphia on Thursday. The Dodgers, swept by the Mets in the first round of the postseason last year, begin a three-game series against New York on Friday night.
Wells would replace right-hander Brett Tomko in Los Angeles' rotation. The Dodgers have had to go with Tomko and Mark Hendrickson, among others, as starters because of injuries to Jason Schmidt, Randy Wolf and Hong-Chih Kuo. Tomko is 2-11 with a 5.80 ERA and Hendrickson is 4-7 with a 5.09 ERA.
Wells will get a prorated salary with the Dodgers plus a per-start incentive that is almost identical to the incentive-based deal he had with the Padres.
Wells' contract with the Padres called for him to make $176,470 per start from Nos. 11-27. He made 22 starts with San Diego.
After facing the Mets, Wells could start against the Padres the following weekend in San Diego, which is also in the hunt for an NL playoff spot.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press