By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Right-hander Luke Prokopec rejected an outright assignment to the Reds farm system Wednesday, making him a free agent.
The Reds picked up Prokopec in the Rule 5 Draft in December, a move that cost them $50,000.
Prokopec, who never pitched for the Reds, refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Louisville. He made $390,000 last season.
Prokopec was coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, and he began and ended the season on the 60-day disabled list.
He had a setback while rehabilitating in July and had to have the shoulder surgically repaired again. He is not expected to resume pitching until July 2004.
The Reds offered Prokopec back to the Dodgers for $25,000, as per Rule 5 procedures, but the Dodgers rejected the offer.
The Prokopec move leaves the Reds' 40-man roster at 38 players.
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