Last gasp for Dodgers? Wells 'excited to help'

NEW YORK -- David Wells is back in the pennant race with a
new team: the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wells and the Dodgers agreed to a contract Thursday and the big
lefty plans to make his first start for Los Angeles on Sunday night
against the Mets in New York.

The 44-year-old Wells was designated for assignment by his
hometown San Diego Padres on Aug. 9 and placed on release waivers
four days later. He cleared waivers last Thursday and became a free

The Dodgers will be his ninth team in a 21-year major league

"David's excited to have an opportunity to continue his career
with a team that has such a storied history,'' said Wells' agent,
Gregg Clifton. "He's excited to help any way he can to get the
Dodgers back to the playoffs.''

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said through team spokesman
Josh Rawitch that the club had nothing to announce Thursday night.

Wells, nicknamed Boomer, struggled in his last four starts with
San Diego, going 0-3 with a 14.33 ERA. Overall, he was 5-8 with a
5.54 ERA this season.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers said the club gave Wells the
option of retiring or being designated for assignment.

The outspoken Wells plans to join the Dodgers on Friday in New
York, where he was once a fan favorite with the Yankees, and start
Sunday night against the NL East-leading Mets in a nationally
televised game, Clifton said.

"This is the right situation, a team on the West Coast that's a
playoff contender. He's looking forward to it,'' Clifton said.
"David always likes to be a member of a veteran team that has a
chance to make the playoffs.''

Beset by injuries to its pitching staff, Los Angeles was two
games out of the NL wild-card lead after a 5-2 victory at
Philadelphia on Thursday. The Dodgers, swept by the Mets in the
first round of the postseason last year, begin a three-game series
against New York on Friday night.

Wells would replace right-hander Brett Tomko in Los Angeles'
rotation. The Dodgers have had to go with Tomko and Mark
Hendrickson, among others, as starters because of injuries to Jason
Schmidt, Randy Wolf and Hong-Chih Kuo. Tomko is 2-11 with a 5.80
ERA and Hendrickson is 4-7 with a 5.09 ERA.

Wells will get a prorated salary with the Dodgers plus a
per-start incentive that is almost identical to the incentive-based
deal he had with the Padres.

Wells' contract with the Padres called for him to make $176,470
per start from Nos. 11-27. He made 22 starts with San Diego.

After facing the Mets, Wells could start against the Padres the
following weekend in San Diego, which is also in the hunt for an NL
playoff spot.