Notes: Alvarez to return

Notes: Alvarez to return

WASHINGTON -- After considering retirement Sunday and the disabled list Monday, pitcher Wilson Alvarez informed the Dodgers on Wednesday that he will rejoin the club in time for Thursday night's game against the Nationals.

"I'm going back with the team," Alvarez said Wednesday night. "I'm going to try to pitch my days and finish the season and that will be it. I'll be there tomorrow."

Alvarez has indicated that he intends to retire after this season.

Manager Jim Tracy said Alvarez threw at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday for physical therapist Pat Screnar and the club is satisfied the left-hander is healthy.

"Pat found nothing significant at all," said Tracy.

Alvarez on Monday said his shoulder has occasional pain and needs offseason surgery. He said he probably would be disabled, perhaps to return in September, but would rather retire and forfeit next year's $2 million guaranteed salary than go through rehabilitation from another shoulder operation.

But Alvarez assured assistant general manager Kim Ng on Wednesday that he feels well enough to compete.

Tracy, who has been playing a man short while Alvarez considered his options, said he would meet with Alvarez before deciding his use. Alvarez has already been on the disabled list twice this year with shoulder problems and has been ineffective since his most recent return on July 19.

"It's not my place to say if he feels healthy or not," said general manager Paul DePodesta. "If he feels he can compete, that makes me comfortable. I don't think he's any more limited than other relievers as far as going back-to-back or two innings."

Alvarez is 35, in his 14th season and the club was hoping he could handle the situational left-hander's role after the loss of Kelly Wunsch to ankle surgery. He has a 5.73 ERA, 1.93 ERA in relief, but opponents are batting .307 against him. The club had rookie Franquelis Osoria fly in from Triple-A Las Vegas in anticipation of Alvarez going on the DL.

Lowe's blister improved: Derek Lowe, saying the blister on this throwing thumb is healing, said he expects to make his scheduled start on Friday night in Pittsburgh.

Lowe threw a bullpen session on Wednesday, something he was unable to do before his most recent start Saturday. In his previous start July 25, Lowe was removed after eight innings with a one-hitter having torn a chunk of skin off the blister, which forms when he tucks his thumb underneath the ball and against the seams to throw his sinker.

To cover the raw skin, team trainers coated the thumb with a compound similar to super glue, but the coating was so slick, Lowe had trouble gripping the ball.

"I'll be fine," he said. "It's 100 times better than last time. It usually takes two to three weeks to heal. I've always had problems with it. It affects the quality and consistency of the pitches."

Erickson clears waivers: Veteran right-hander Scott Erickson, designated for assignment on July 29, cleared outright waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Las Vegas. Erickson is tentatively scheduled to start for the 51s on Thursday night in Omaha.

Been a long time: When the Dodgers slugged four home runs on Tuesday night, it marked the first time a team accomplished that feat at RFK Stadium since the Boston Red Sox did it Sept. 27, 1970, against the Washington Senators. George Scott hit two and Tony Conigliaro and Gary Peters one each.

Field trip: Members of the team traveling party will have a private tour of the White House on Thursday, but are not expected to meet President Bush.

Closer-in-training: Vero Beach right-handed closer Mark Alexander was the Florida State League's Rolaids Relief Man competition winner for July as he went 2-0 with eight saves to tally 28 points (three points for each save, two points for each win). In 11 July appearances, Alexander posted a 1.72 ERA, yielding just three runs, nine hits and six walks while striking out 28 batters in 15.2 innings. Overall this season, he is 4-1 with 19 saves and a 1.89 ERA in 41 outings, recording 81 strikeouts and 20 walks in 52.1 innings. He ranks third in the overall FSL Rolaids Relief Man standings with 63 points.

Coming up: Brad Penny pitches Thursday night's series finale. He seems to pitch to his history, and he owned the Montreal Expos, so chances are he'll be on as he makes his first start against the Washington Nationals. He was 11-4 with a 2.24 ERA lifetime against Montreal. He is coming off a shaky start against St. Louis.

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