Notes: Perez set to move on

Notes: Perez set to move on

LOS ANGELES -- Odalis Perez packed his things up in the Dodgers clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon after he found out he was traded to Kansas City earlier in the day.

"You know, the team is a bad team," Perez said of the last-place Royals. "[But] I could be happy there because I can be the ace on staff or one of the good guys on the staff."

Perez was disappointed that he is leaving Los Angeles after spending 5 1/2 years here. But, as general manager Ned Colletti stated earlier in the day, the move seemed to be the best for everyone.

"Anything we do, we're going to try to make ourselves a little bit better," manager Grady Little said. "This gives Odalis a chance to pitch in a role he wants -- to start."

The 29-year old left-hander lost his starting job in May and was moved to the bullpen, where he expressed frustration over his reduced pitching time. Perez spoke with Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore, who told the lefty he would be a starter.

"At least I can go out there and pitch," he said. "I didn't have the opportunity I wanted [here]; I don't know why. In the beginning, it shocked me, but I need to go, I need to put my career in a better situation."

Kansas City entered Tuesday with a 34-64 record, 32 1/2 games behind American League Central leader Detroit.

Perez also said he felt the Dodgers misjudged what he was able to do, but he thanked the fans and the organization for his time at Dodger Stadium. His first four years, he said, were happy years, but this season has been tough. Perez finished his last season with Los Angeles with a 4-4 record and a 6.83 ERA.

Trade time: The Dodgers have made two trades over the last three days. There are still six days left before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and there are still a few things the team needs.

The Dodgers picked up two pitchers in two trades, but what they need most right now -- a power hitter -- is not going to come easy.

In a post-trade conference call, Colletti said that money has not been an issue this trade-deadline period. The Dodgers are looking for a power hitter who can hit about 30 home runs per season, but the number of available players who could make that difference is low. Colletti is not ready to trade multiple players for one, though.

"I'm not to the point yet of saying, 'Let's sacrifice two-three young players -- some in L.A., some in [Triple-A] Vegas -- for someone we'd probably have for a two-month period,'" Colletti said. "I have backed away from some deals because I thought the contracts were outrageous."

The Dodgers would like to keep the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons in mind as well.

"If we go for the quick fix, and even make the playoffs, if next year we do not have the young players on this club, there would be reaction to that," Colletti said. "You can't have it both ways."

The Dodgers remain optimistic that the current players in the clubhouse will keep them competitive in the National League West. However, Little did say that things have reached a point where the Dodgers cannot sit and wait for something to happen, they have to make something happen.

Nomar strains ligament: Nomar Garciaparra injured his right knee in Monday night's series opener against San Diego.

An MRI exam on Tuesday morning confirmed what trainers had thought on Monday night, and Garciaparra will be out with a strained ligament for five days.

In the 11th inning, Josh Barfield's bloop double fell into center field. Jose Cruz Jr. threw the ball in to Garciaparra, who was waiting for Barfield at second. Garciaparra went on his knees to make the tag, but Barfield was called safe. The Dodgers first baseman appeared to twist his knee and winced in pain, but he remained in the game.

Starting lineup changes: Andre Ethier batted third for the first time this year on Tuesday, Russell Martin and J.D. Drew had the day off, and Olmedo Saenz got the start at first base in replace of the injured Garciaparra.

It was the debut of another new lineup for the Dodgers, as they continue to explore options that could get them out of an offensive slump. The Dodgers went without the 3-4-5 hitters they wanted at the start of the season -- Garciapparra, Jeff Kent and Drew.

Kent's workout schedule will become more aggressive on Friday and Saturday, but he will likely not play in the next road series. Kent is on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle.

Movement in the bullpen: Elmer Dessens, acquired in the Perez trade with the Royals, arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, and the right-hander was possibly available to pitch out of the bullpen against the Padres. He could also see a couple of starts with the Dodgers this season.

"Everybody speaks very highly of the job he can do, and we're glad to have him back," Little said.

Brett Tomko (strained oblique) is expected to be in the bullpen by the start of Wednesday's game. He pitched two innings of relief on a rehab assignment in Las Vegas.

Coming up: The Dodgers finish their three-game series against the Padres in a Wednesday afternoon game before their day off Thursday. Brad Penny (10-4, 3.23 ERA) and Jake Peavy (4-10, 5.15) face off in the 12:10 p.m. PT finale.

Elizabeth Aguilar is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.