LOS ANGELES -- Management cast a vote Tuesday for the Dodgers youth movement. General manager Ned Colletti bolstered the sagging bullpen before the trade deadline without dealing away any of his top young players, reacquiring hard-throwing right-handed reliever Scott Proctor from the New York Yankees for infielder Wilson Betemit. In a thin market, Colletti did not obtain his greatest need, a starting pitcher, because anybody that he considered an upgrade would have cost the kind of young players Colletti was not willing to deal, including players that are currently key contributors on the Major League level.
"Would I trade a young player? In a heartbeat," Colletti said. "But it has to be the right deal and able to stand the test of time for more than eight weeks. I expected to pay a little more, but not a couple players more to make a deal. When the market is as thin as it was, you have to keep your wits about you so you won't overvalue. "Our young players are starting to become established. They're, in some ways, almost an equal part of the club as the veterans." So Colletti settled for Proctor, 30, a fifth-round Draft pick of the Dodgers in 1998 who was traded to the Yankees with Bubba Crosby at the deadline four years ago for Robin Ventura. Colletti said he believes the current roster is good enough to reach the postseason and the addition of Proctor addresses a critical need. Proctor reports Wednesday. To fill the roster and replace Betemit, the Dodgers promoted Delwyn Young from Triple-A Las Vegas, where he was hitting .343 with 44 doubles, 16 homers and 79 RBIs. Young will probably remain with the club after Proctor arrives with a pitcher likely to depart to make room. "Scott has a record of durability and success in one of the major markets in the country," said Colletti. "We see him as a solid addition to our bullpen down the stretch." Proctor is 2-5 with a 3.81 ERA in 52 games with the Yankees, striking out 37 with 29 walks and 53 hits allowed in 54 1/3 innings. He led the league in appearances last year, scaring off some clubs who believe his arm is tired. He allowed home runs in four of his last six outings. Since the start of last season, Proctor has thrown 156 2/3 innings, more than any other reliever in the Majors, while his 135 appearances rank third in the Majors behind Jon Rauch (141) and Matt Capps (136). During that period, Proctor has posted a 3.62 ERA. "Definitely a lot of innings, but that's what we're paid to do," said Proctor. "You go out and grab a ball whenever you're asked to, and you do the job and get the guys out." The Dodgers bullpen, the club's most consistent weapon in the first half of the season, has been under siege since the All-Star break because of early exits by, and injuries to, several starting pitchers, as well as a week without closer Takashi Saito. Proctor would be expected to help Joe Beimel pick up the sixth and seventh innings, with Jonathan Broxton and Saito reserved for the eighth and ninth innings. Betemit, who lost his job as the starting third baseman in May, is a 25-year-old switch-hitter with 10 home runs, 26 RBIs and a .231 average. He has shown considerable improvement since Bill Mueller took over as hitting coach six weeks ago. He was acquired last July 28 from Atlanta for Danys Baez and Willy Aybar to take over third base. "If I had 500 at-bats instead of 50 at-bats, what would I do?" asked Betemit, who said goodbye to his former teammates and cleaned out his locker before joining the Yankees. "I didn't start good. I think if I get the at-bats, it would be better. What can I do?" In the last week of July a year ago, Colletti acquired Elmer Dessens, Betemit, Greg Maddux and Julio Lugo.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.