Dodgers deal for shortstop Berroa
Former AL ROY should add depth with Furcal sidelined
LOS ANGELES -- In the absence of Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers moved to bolster their shortstop depth on Friday by trading for 2003 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner Angel Berroa, sending Class A shortstop Juan Rivera to Kansas City.
Technically, Berroa was assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas, but that is procedural to avoid the club being shorthanded Friday night. He is expected to be promoted to the Dodgers as soon as Saturday, most likely with Chin-lung Hu being sent to play every day at Triple-A.
Hu, essentially Furcal's replacement, has played well defensively, but entered Friday night's game batting .172. The Dodgers are 7-13 with Hu starting at short. Berroa was hitting .291 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs for Triple-A Omaha. Rivera, 21, was hitting .241 in 10 games for Great Lakes.
Short of saying Hu will play every day in the Minors, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti extended a vote of confidence to the infielder.
"We still believe Hu will be a very good player," Colletti said. "But what he's been asked to do, replace Rafael Furcal, is asking a lot."
The 30-year-old Berroa was acquired by Kansas City from Oakland and immediately became the everyday shortstop for the Royals in 2003, when he hit .287 with 17 homers, 21 steals and 73 RBIs. Berroa's play, however, declined the following three seasons, during which it was discovered that he was two years older than originally believed.
He lost the starting job to Tony Pena Jr. last year and spent most of that season at Triple-A. He has a .263 career batting average in the Majors.
"It's an opportunity for him to have a second chance," said Colletti. "We need the player and the player needs the second opportunity."
Presumably, if Berroa regains his rookie form, he could become an alternative with Furcal eligible for free agency after this season.
Colletti said Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer, familiar with Berroa from his days in Kansas City, pushed for the acquisition, which could soon be followed by a promotion of Andy LaRoche, who is adding second-base and first-base experience to his resume while at Las Vegas.
"He could be called up any time," said manager Joe Torre. "He is close."
Also in Las Vegas, reliever Yhency Brazoban was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. He missed most of the last two seasons with shoulder and elbow operations and had a 12.38 ERA in eight appearances.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.