Originally created 03/27/06

Dodgers edge Braves



VERO BEACH, Fla. - Eric Gagne shook off a rough outing Sunday and declared himself ready for the regular season.

The Dodgers closer struck out two but allowed a double and a run-scoring single in one inning of Los Angeles' 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

"I have good days and bad days," Gagne said. "I'm still off a little bit on my mechanics. My offspeed (pitches) were off. I didn't throw a good offspeed pitch. I didn't have that snap like I usually do."

Gagne said he would focus on his delivery and rhythm in the next week before the Dodgers open the season at home on April 3 against the Braves.

The 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner was limited to 14 games last season due to arm and knee injuries. On June 24, he had surgery to repair a ligament in his pitching elbow.

The right-hander said he has found himself trying to work too quickly. When he relaxes the pace, Gagne has gone too slow and then can't find a groove.

Gagne is expected to throw on Tuesday and Wednesday, his first back-to-back sessions since before his season-ending surgery last year.

Rafael Furcal led the Dodgers offense against his former Atlanta teammates. The shortstop, who left the Braves as a free agent this winter, went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs to raise his spring average to.417.

Atlanta first baseman Adam LaRoche went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the fourth inning off reliever D.J. Houlton.

Odalis Perez saw action Sunday in a minor league game, going 4.2 innings and allowing a two-run home run. The Dodgers starter threw 62 pitches.

Originally scheduled to start against the Braves, Perez was moved to the minor league game because he will face Atlanta in the third game of the season.

Notes: Catcher Dioner Navarro has been cleared to play after being slowed by a right hamstring strain. He will bat in minor league games Monday and Tuesday before returning to catching duties with the Dodgers on Wednesday against Washington.... Dodgers manager Grady Little said he plans to play most of his regulars for all nine innings on Tuesday and Wednesday.