Dodgers clear air with disgruntled pitcher Perez

ST. LOUIS -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are taking inflammatory
remarks by pitcher Odalis Perez in stride, saying they have no
plans to trade the disgruntled left-hander.

Perez, a former 15-game winner who's spent much of this season
in the bullpen due to ineffectiveness, accused the Dodgers of
treating him like "trash" moments after giving up a game-winning,
14th-inning home run to the Cardinals' Albert Pujols on Thursday
night. General manager Ned Colletti said he and manager Grady
Little met with Perez for 10-15 minutes on Friday to clear the air.

"I'd say it was a positive exchange," Colletti said. "He told
us what he was thinking, how he was feeling, and we told him how we
were thinking.

"Hopefully, it'll turn out to be not only a positive exchange
but a positive result."

Both Colletti and Little added that Perez, who said "I love
L.A." on Thursday, didn't ask for a trade.

"He's a Dodger, and he wants to be a part of this club, and he
wants to be a part of a winning team," Little said.

Perez had no comment Friday, choosing to avoid reporters. On
Thursday he said he didn't know why he was banished to the bullpen,
adding "If I've done something wrong, let me know, tell me. I want
to know. I've been treated like trash."

Colletti said the discussion was more or less a repeat of Perez'
remarks after Thursday's 3-2 loss, "with a little less audience."

Colletti said the team had no intention of dealing either Perez,
4-4 with a 6.79 earned-run average, or backup catcher Toby Hall, who's also
complained about his role in recent days. Colletti also had a wry
response to a hypothetical question of Perez' trade value, saying
"Hypothetically, what do you think?"

Little said he recognized the frustration flowing from a pitcher
who's been a starter his entire career.

"You just have to take that for what it is," Little said. "We
understand how he feels."

But Little said Perez has to understand the team's position,
too. So, at least for now, Perez will remain in the bullpen.

"He understands that everything we do around here is with one
thing in mind, and that's to try to win ballgames," Little said.
"We're at a point in our season right now where it becomes more
and more important every day and he's a big part of this ballclub,
whatever his role may be."

Perez won 15 games in 2002 and 12 in '03, but was 7-8 in an
injury-plagued 2005. He was the last pitcher left in the bullpen on
Thursday because a sixth reliever, Danys Baez, was at the team
hotel with flulike symptoms.

The matchup against Pujols, who homered well over the left-field
wall on a 3-1 pitch with one out in the 14th, was an extremely
difficult one for Perez. Pujols, the NL MVP last year, is 10-for-15
against Perez with five homers and 12 RBI.

"That's why people pay attention to numbers," Cardinals
manager Tony La Russa said. "Odalis Perez gets a lot of hitters
out, but there's a confidence factor with Albert."