Clark adds outfield insurance for Dodgers

Updated: March 26, 2007, 5:13 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Brady Clark

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.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press