Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, March 31, 1999

M A J O R _ L E A G U E _ B A S E B A L L

Ex-’Bow Scott Karl
dropped from rotation

Associated Press


PHOENIX -- The Milwaukee Brewers are using psychology by demoting left-hander Scott Karl from opening-day starter to fourth in a brittle rotation that includes a rookie and two reclamation projects.

"I hope he understands the logic, that he wants to prove us wrong and get out there and get the job done and not pout about it and whine about it, but go out and stick it to us," general manager Sal Bando said.

Manager Phil Garner said he hopes the former Hawaii pitcher is not embarrassed by losing his No. 1 slot to rookie Rafael Roque.

"This is not intended to embarrass anybody," Garner said. "It's not intended as punishment. It's intended to set the rotation up right now going out the gate the way I think we're best suited."

Roque spent four seasons in Class-A ball with the New York Mets before accelerating through the Brewers' farm system last year and getting nine late-season major league starts. He wasn't even expected to make the roster, much less the rotation, when camp began last month.

"Yes, I was real surprised," Roque said in Spanish after Garner informed him he'd start Monday at St. Louis. "When I came to camp, they told me I'd be the fifth starter if I did a good job."

But even that was wishful thinking until Cal Eldred, recovering from elbow surgery, was placed on the 15-day disabled list, opening up a spot in the rotation for Roque, a 25-year-old left-hander from the Dominican Republic.

"I'm not nervous," said Roque, who has gone 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in his first major-league camp. "It's just another game, but I'm really excited."

Garner selected Karl as his opening day starter earlier this month, but had second thoughts when he went 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in four spring starts, allowing 12 runs, 23 hits, 10 walks and four homers in 15 innings.

"It wasn't justified to give him the first start despite having the seniority of the guys," Bando said.

Garner said Karl "handled it very professionally." While congenial in the clubhouse, Karl declined to discuss the change.

Karl bounced back from a tough spring last year by winning his first four decisions in April after posting a 9.00 ERA in spring training.

BAD NEWS FOR ANGELS: With the season-opener a week away, the Anaheim Angels got some more bad news about shortstop Gary DiSarcina.

The Angels found out yesterday that DiSarcina's left forearm is injured more severely than first thought, and he'll be need surgery and be sidelined for the first 3-4 months of the regular season.

DiSarcina, an outstanding fielder who hit .287 with three homers and 56 RBIs in 157 games last season, was struck by a fungo bat during batting practice on Feb. 21. The original prognosis was he would return in 4-6 weeks.

A CT scan Monday showed the bone has not healed. DiSarcina, 31, will have a plate screwed into the forearm to allow proper healing.

The Angels also made a trade yesterday, sending switch-hitting infielder Dave Hollins to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league infielder Tomas Perez.

BROWN COSTS DODGERS MORE: The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to have to pay for their jet-set treatment of Kevin Brown -- even more than the $105 million they will pay the pitcher the next seven years.

The pitcher's private planes are being treated as plain old cash as far as the commissioner's office is concerned, and the team will have to pay an extra $204,000 in luxury tax this year.

The commissioner's office has proposed adding $600,000 to Brown's listed salary in each season of his contract. That's because Brown's deal contains a unique clause allowing the use of a private jet -- at the team's expense -- 12 times a year so his family can travel from Los Angeles or Macon, Ga.

According to a letter sent to the Dodgers from the commissioner's office, the price of the Brown family's upgrade from first class to private plane is estimated to be worth $50,000 per round trip. It will be assessed at a 34 percent rate.

Brown's contract also calls for him to receive eight season tickets, and the commissioner's office has asked the Dodgers for the value of those tickets with the intention of also adding that figure to his salary for luxury tax purposes.

However, the Dodgers won't be charged extra for giving Brown a hotel suite on road trips. Several players have that provision in their contracts -- the latest being Orel Hershiser when he signed with the New York Mets last week.

D'BACKS ADD RELIEF: Looking for experienced relievers to back up their high-priced starting rotation, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Darren Holmes from the New York Yankees and John Frascatore from the St. Louis Cardinals.

"Now we have a major league bullpen," Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said after the trades were made yesterday.

The Yankees agreed to pay about $1 million of the $3.45 million Holmes is owed on the remaining two years of his contract, according to a baseball official who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

New York received young pitcher Ben Ford and minor league catcher Izzy Molina. In exchange for Frascatore, the Cardinals got right-hander Clint Sodowsky, who is expected to be assigned to Triple-A Memphis.

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