Notes: Perez headed to bullpen

Notes: Perez headed to bullpen

LOS ANGELES -- Odalis Perez is back from the Dominican Republic, but not back in the Dodgers' starting rotation.

Perez returned from bereavement leave to visit his ailing mother and was greeted by manager Grady Little, who demoted the left-hander and his 6.90 ERA to the bullpen.

"A few times out of the 'pen might help him get on track," said Little.

Little said he was considering bumping Perez from the rotation ever since he lost a 6-0 lead in Arizona last week, before he left the club. The decision was made easier when Aaron Sele, called up to take Perez's start Sunday, allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings against Milwaukee.

Sele will start Saturday in San Francisco against the Giants, an indication of how far Perez has fallen, because he's pretty much owned that club over the past few years. One of Perez's three wins this season was a seven-inning start against the Giants, in which he allowed one earned run. He is 5-0 against the Giants, dating back through 2004, and he is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA at AT&T Park over that time.

Little said he was aware of Perez's success against the Giants, but he wanted Perez to work out mechanical flaws as a long reliever. Perez also has been known to tip pitches, a possibility even more likely last week when former teammate Shawn Green took him deep, which opened the floodgates to a seven-run inning.

Perez pitched briefly out of the bullpen early in his career with the Braves, but he has never relieved in his five seasons as a Dodger. Perez had no comment about his demotion.

After his start in Arizona, Perez said he was distracted by his mother's condition. He said she suffered a recurrence of an ailment that required surgery two years ago. She is out of the hospital, but there are plans to bring her to Miami for further tests and treatment.

"She looks better now," Perez said. "I feel better mentally."

To make room for Perez while keeping Sele, the Dodgers will go with a 12-man pitching staff. They optioned Oscar Robles back to Triple-A Las Vegas, leaving them a bench player short.

"We think we can manage, and we can benefit [Perez] by using him in this role now," said Little. "Oscar Robles is a very valuable asset on the ballclub, and there will come a time when we'll wish we had him. But we feel the situation now with Odalis that 12 pitchers will come about more often."

Little said Perez was surprised at the demotion, but accepted it.

"He talked to me like he'll do whatever will make this team the best," Little said.

Robles also was caught by surprise.

"I wasn't even thinking about it," said Robles. "What can I do, what can I say? I respect their decision. I'll go down and work hard. What else can I do? The manager said they need another pitcher. I don't go controversial. I'll go down there. It's tough."

Gio returns: Versatile reliever Giovanni Carrara is back in the Dodgers organization. Carrara, who was allowed to leave last winter as a free agent and signed with the Pirates, was released from his contract Saturday despite a 1-1 mark and 3.00 ERA at Triple-A Indianapolis.

He signed and will join Triple-A Las Vegas, but he is likely to be the first promotion if the big-league club needs a middle reliever. This is Carrara's third stint in the Dodgers organization. He is 24-10 with a 3.21 ERA during his time with the Dodgers in 2001-02 and 2004-05.

Izturis has target: Shortstop Cesar Izturis has a tentative date of May 25 to begin a three-week injury rehabilitation assignment at Las Vegas, as he closes in on a return to the Dodgers.

Izturis underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction Sept. 16, when doctors predicted a return around the All-Star break. He was well ahead of that schedule until suffering a minor setback last month, but he again is throwing without pain.

Coming up: Brett Tomko (3-1, 3.41 ERA) will oppose Taylor Buchholz (2-1, 2.16 ERA) and the Astros at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. PT.

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