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Dodgers' GM says Gagne sent to minors to get more work

March 15, 2010 |  2:57 pm

Disgraced former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne was reassigned to minor-league camp Monday mainly because the relief pitcher needs more work than would be available with the big-league club, Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said.

"For the most part he needs to pitch, he needs to build up his arm strength especially for his off-speed stuff," Colletti said during the Dodgers-Angels exhibition game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. "We’re not going to have the innings on the big-league side to do that.”

Earlier in the day, Colletti said he joined Manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt in delivering the news to Gagne, who was attempting to get back into the big leagues after spending last year playing for a Canadian team. But the right-hander struggled in his first three spring appearances, giving up six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Gagne left the Dodgers' spring-training complex in Camelback Ranch on Monday morning shortly before the announcement. Asked how he reacted to the decision, Colletti said "He’s a veteran who knows where he is. I think he just wanted to make sure we still had an interest in him, which we do. So I think he took it fine."

Colletti acknowledged that Gagne's comeback was "a long shot" but said it was "one of those nothing-ventured, nothing-gained type situations, [to] give him an opportunity to see what he could do."

Gagne, 34, won the Cy Young Award with the Dodgers in 2003 when he converted 55 of 55 save opportunities and posted a 1.20 earned-run average. But he also was later identified in the Mitchell Report as a user of performance-enhancing drugs.

-- Jim Peltz in Tempe, Ariz.