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Berroa ready for a fresh start

Berroa ready for a fresh start

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LOS ANGELES -- Shortstop Angel Berroa, acquired Friday night from Kansas City, arrived in time for Saturday's game, necessitating the removal of infielder Terry Tiffee from the roster.

Tiffee was designated for assignment, giving the Dodgers 10 days to trade, release or outright him if he clears waivers. His departure leaves the Dodgers a little thin for corner infielders, a situation that could be solved by the promotion of Andy LaRoche. That move could accompany the demotion to Triple-A of Chin-lung Hu, whose role is being taken by Berroa.

Hu started at shortstop Saturday because management wasn't sure Berroa's flight would arrive in time. Berroa was obtained in exchange for Class A shortstop Juan Rivera.

Manager Joe Torre said Berroa could play either of the middle infield spots, and that the club has been looking for "a more experienced guy to do what you should have experienced guys do." Torre often has said Hu was rushed into his current role because of injuries, particularly to starting shortstop Rafael Furcal and Nomar Garciaparra. Hu is hitting .165.

Berroa, 30, was the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year, and it led to the signing of a four-year, $11 million contract during the 2004 season, after which his play deteriorated and his stock plummeted so dramatically that he spent most of the last two seasons in the Minor Leagues.

"It's good to be on a new team and start over," said Berroa.

He said he couldn't explain why his performance declined, leading the Royals to replace Berroa with Tony Pena Jr.

"I had a bad year. Anyone can have it," he said. "People look at it and say I play bad. I think I'm the same player."

The Dodgers will be responsible for only the remaining pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum salary for Berroa, not the $3.5 million remaining from his multi-year contract, as earlier reported.

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

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