Notes: DePodesta looking to add

Notes: DePodesta looking to add

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers completed the first third of their season Friday with a 27-27 record, seven players on the disabled list and a firm hold on third place in the National League West standings.

It's not what Paul DePodesta expected, but then again, preseason favorite San Francisco sits in fourth place and upstart San Diego and Arizona clubs were a combined 38-18 in May. So, when the Dodgers' general manager spoke Saturday, he was neither content nor consternated.

"We still feel very confident in the guys we have here," DePodesta said. "Our biggest issue has been health. We haven't gotten our entire team on the field yet, and it's already June."

In the first third of the season, the Dodgers totaled 325 player-games missed due to injury -- an average of just over six salaried players inactive for any given game. Despite this drain on the Dodgers' manpower -- and payroll -- DePodesta said the Dodgers are actively seeking to trade for help.

"We've already put some calls out there and had some initial conversations," he said. "Ideally, we'll be able to stabilize our starting pitching. Right now, that's probably the most important issue for us to address."

DePodesta and the Dodgers did their preseason budgeting with the possibility of midseason trades in mind, and DePodesta said that if help was acquired, it would probably be in exchange for Minor League talent, rather than key components of the Major League roster.

The biggest hurdle for the Dodgers front office at the moment is the paucity of players on the trading market. Only five Major League teams are more than 10.5 games out of first place in their respective divisions, and, with the Wild Card, many of the teams on the bubble aren't ready to sell just yet.

"A lot of teams, most times, aren't ready to do something until the end of June or early July at the earliest," DePodesta said. "There aren't many that consider themselves out of the race yet, and that certainly limits the number of available players."

While he hopes to make some changes to the Dodgers' roster in coming weeks, DePodesta said he has no intention of making any changes on the Dodgers' coaching staff.

"I think they've done a very good job given the circumstances we've been under," DePodesta said of manager Jim Tracy and his staff. "Even to be in the position we're in now, we're not really in a position where we have to dig ourselves out of a hole.

"That's definitely a tribute to what the staff has done."

Didn't kneed that: Odalis Perez, who's been on the DL with soreness in his left shoulder since May 15, was scheduled to throw a bullpen Saturday, but it was pushed back a day because the left-hander was hit on the right knee by a ball while playing catch Friday.

"I couldn't sleep last night, but it feels better today," Perez said. "Tomorrow, I'll be on the mound and I'll try to use all my pitches."

Despite the nicked knee, Perez threw on flat ground Saturday, and the results were positive.

"Today off the flat ground was as good a day as he's felt in quite a while," Tracy said.

Confirmed Perez: "My arm was very good. Very, very good."

Dessens on rehab: Elmer Dessens threw 29 pitches for Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday, allowing two hits, a walk and a run in one inning.

"He is scheduled to go again on Tuesday, and they will up the [pitch] count from 30 to 40 [or] 45," Tracy said.

Alvarez still ailing: Left-hander Wilson Alvarez was still unavailable Saturday due to tendinitis, and usual mop-up man D.J. Houlton was scheduled to start the game, leaving Scott Erickson as the lone long man in the Dodgers' bullpen Saturday.

"I would say that at some point in time, Scott Erickson has to pitch tonight," Tracy said, citing Houlton's low pitch count (75-80) and the need "to have a bridge-builder to the back end of the bullpen."

Erickson hasn't pitched since May 30, when he threw 34 pitches in two innings of relief, so fatigue shouldn't be an issue if the Dodgers need an extended outing from him.

On deck: Brad Penny (2-2, 3.56 ERA) will face off against the Brewers' Wes Obermueller (1-0, 2.43 ERA) at 1:10 p.m. Sunday. In each of his last three starts, Penny has pitched at least seven innings and given up two or fewer runs.

Mark Thoma is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.