Dodgers send former Cy Young winner Gagne to minors

The Los Angeles Dodgers have sent former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne to their minor league camp, stalling the closer’s bid to make it back to the majors.

The 34-year-old Gagne had a 20.25 ERA in three outings during spring training, allowing six runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings.

"I think for the most part he needs to pitch and he needs to build up his arm strength and a feel for his offspeed stuff," general manager Ned Colletti said Monday. "We’re not going to have the innings on the big league side to do that."

The Dodgers reassigned Gagne to the minors, and manager Joe Torre said the reliever accepted the move. Gagne had an out clause and could have become a free agent.

Gagne was given the day off after the decision was made and was not available for comment.

Gagne was a dominant closer for the Dodgers and won the Cy Young in 2003. That came during a stretch in which he successfully converted 84 straight save chances.

The right-hander signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers. He spent last year in the minors, pitching in the independent Can-Am League. He played for Milwaukee in 2008.

"He wanted to make sure we still had interest in having him, which we do," Colletti said. "I think he took it fine. He knows where he’s at and he feels fine physically, but he has to convert that to success on the mound."

In other another move, left-hander Armando Zerpa, picked by the Dodgers from Boston in the minor league draft, was reclaimed by the Red Sox. Left-hander Scott Elbert, who has appeared in 29 games the past two seasons, was optioned to the minor league camp.