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Clark adds outfield insurance for Dodgers

PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Dodgers, shy on right-handed
hitting outfielders, acquired Brady Clark and cash from the
Milwaukee Brewers on Monday for reliever Elmer Dessens.

The 33-year-old Clark has a .278 career batting average over
seven seasons with Cincinnati, the New York Mets and Milwaukee. He
appeared in 125 or more games in each of the past four seasons with
the Brewers. He hit .263 with four homers and 29 RBIs in 138 games
last season -- a year after batting .306 with 183 hits.

"What this gives us is a very capable player to replace Jason
Repko, a right-handed batter who can play all three spots,"
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "When Repko went down,
it left us very left-handed in the outfield and also less
versatile."

Repko will have surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles and is probably
out for the season. An MRI showed he tore two hamstring tendons off
his pelvis bone in an injury that occurred while he was chasing a
fly ball last Thursday.

"The prognosis is good, the timeframe is bad," Dodgers trainer
Stan Conte said. "This requires the tendon to re-grow back to the
bone and that takes a period of time of simple rest, unfortunately.
He will be out a minimum of five months, so he will essentially
miss the season."

Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal received better news Monday, but
he still might not be ready for Opening Day because of a sprained
ankle.

"He is recovering incredibly quickly, much quicker than I
thought," Conte said. "We still have a long way to go, but the
timeframe is unpredictable."

Furcal thinks he will be ready physically by next Monday, when
the Dodgers play their opener at Milwaukee.

"I don't need that many at-bats before we start," he said.

Left-hander Hong Chih-Kuo, who has not thrown a ball since a
start last Wednesday, likely will not compete for three to four
weeks because an MRI showed a muscle strain below the back of his
shoulder. Kuo will likely have another MRI next week to see how
much the injury has healed, but he will remain in Florida until he
is ready to begin throwing again.

The Dodgers will pay Clark the $1.7 million they were set to pay
Dessens, and the Brewers gave them $2.1 million to cover the
difference between what Clark would have made in Milwaukee. Clark
has appeared in 286 games in center field, 238 in right and 75 in
left during his career.

After attending the University of San Diego, Clark began his
career in the Cincinnati organization and made his big-league debut
in 2000. He was traded to the Mets in 2002 and claimed off waivers
by Milwaukee the following year.

The 36-year-old Dessens has a 46-59 record and 4.41 ERA with
Pittsburgh, Arizona, Los Angeles and Kansas City. In parts of three
seasons with the Dodgers, he appeared in 59 games, six of them
starts, and went 2-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 108 2/3 innings.

"Elmer brings 10 years of major league experience to our
pitching staff," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "His
versatility as a spot starter and long reliever should allow him to
play a valuable role on our pitching staff this season."

The right-handed Dessens had a 3.75 ERA in seven outings
covering 12 innings for the Dodgers this spring.

"It's hard to leave a good ball club like the Dodgers, but I am
excited because I am going to get a fresh start with a new team and
I am going to have more of an opportunity to pitch," he said.

Colletti said the trade doesn't change any other decisions the
Dodgers were looking at in the Opening Day roster, except that it
may open up a spot in the pitching staff.