Notes: Sore Brazoban to rest

Notes: Brazoban to rest tender shoulder

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The intermittent rain that cut short the Dodgers' Sunday workout didn't stop Eric Gagne from throwing his bullpen session in the covered batting cage.

But Yhency Brazoban, one of Gagne's replacements as closer last year, has been set back with shoulder tenderness that doctors said was musculature and believed to be minor.

"After throwing to hitters a few days ago, Brazoban was a little tender, but nothing really abnormal," said pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. "He didn't throw for three weeks before we got here, then ramped up after a couple bullpens. He might have gone too hard too quick. He was told to shut down for a few days and we'll plateau him back up. He may not see game action for a few extra days."

Brazoban could use the rest. He set a Dodgers rookie record with 74 appearances (72 2/3 innings) last year and followed that with 27 more games and 27 more innings in the Dominican Republic Winter League, for a total of 101 games and 99 2/3 innings.

Brazoban led the Dominican in saves after setting a Dodgers rookie record with 21 saves in place of Gagne, although by August he lost his role to Duaner Sanchez.

The news on Gagne continued to be upbeat as he returns from elbow surgery. He rebounded after facing hitters for the first time and "threw great," according to Honeycutt.

"Right now, he's no different than any other guy," Honeycutt said. "He knows his arm. He knows the different between normal stiffness versus abnormal pain. Some of the young guys don't know the difference."

Shortstop updates: Since both arrived and judging by physical appearances, Cesar Izturis has been physically sounder than Rafael Furcal.

But manager Grady Little said he still expects Furcal to be healed from knee surgery in time to start the season at shortstop and Izturis to be sidelined for several more months after Tommy John surgery.

Nonetheless, after watching Izturis swing the bat at full speed, he had to ask trainers what the deal was.

"It looked strange to me for a person to do that," Little said.

He was told the movement for swinging a bat and throwing a ball put different strains on the elbow. Izturis, who has increased his throwing from 40 feet to 60 feet since he arrived, isn't buying it.

"I feel so good that when I was shagging the other day, I fielded the ball, turned around and threw it without even thinking about it. I just forgot about the surgery," he said. "It's the first time I did that. I know I had the surgery, but it feels so good. It feels like it's fine."

Meanwhile, Furcal still seems to be favoring the knee, but Little isn't so sure.

"I don't know if it's a limp or a strut," Little said of Furcal. "He assured me he's fine and the trainers say he'll be ready, that's where I get my feeling."

More medical updates: Brett Tomko returned to action after missing two days because of the flu, as did Ramon Martinez, who was in such discomfort Friday night that he went to the emergency room of a local hospital with dehydration.

"They put me on IVs, then they said they thought I had appendicitis and they wanted to operate," said Martinez, a non-roster invitee challenging Oscar Robles for a roster spot. "I told them I wasn't going to have surgery. Then I started feeling better."

Problems in Panama: Infielder Olmedo Saenz said he will participate in the World Baseball Classic for his native Panama, even though he said political infighting among leaders of the national team led manager Roberto Kelly to resign.

"It's embarrassing," said Saenz. "Roberto Kelly was my hero when I grew up. He wanted to give back to his country and he has to go through this fight over money for expenses and other things. I was looking forward to the chance to play for him. But he couldn't take it anymore.

"I'm not happy about it. But I'm going to play in my mom's memory [she died two weeks ago] and for the kids to show them that, even with all this stuff, you have to move on. People from my country supported me when my mom died and I can show them my thanks. It's what a professional player can do. But I don't like the way the national committee has done this."

Saenz, who leaves Thursday, said Panamanian baseball officials made it difficult for Kelly to enlist players by refusing to reschedule a national tournament that conflicted with preparations for the World Baseball Classic.

Tee time: Gagne, Tomko, Derek Lowe and Kenny Lofton will tape a segment of "The Big Break All-Star Challenge" for the Golf Channel on Wednesday, to be aired at a later date. The quartet will play nearby Pointe West Golf Course. Dodgers broadcaster Charley Steiner will co-host the 30-minute show. Each player, based on performance, will receive a cash award to be donated to a charity of his choice.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.