Dodgers Preview

Through the first 10 games of the season, the Dodgers led the majors in runs and were averaging more than 11 hits per game.

In a three-game weekend series against the Giants, though, the Dodgers managed a total of four runs and 14 hits. The Giants took two of the three games, including a combined three-hitter for a 2-0 victory Sunday.

Timely hitting was starkly missing in the series. The Dodgers stranded 21 baserunners in the three games and went 1-for-21 with runners in scoring position.

In Sunday's series finale, the Dodgers left the bases loaded in the seventh when Ricky Ledee struck out and Dioner Navarro flied out. The tying runs were on base again in the eighth when Ramon Martinez popped out to end the inning.

DODGER NOTES, QUOTES

--2B Jeff Kent was hit in the head by a pitch from Giants RHP Brad Hennessey in the seventh inning Sunday. Kent never lost consciousness and was able to walk off the field, but a CT scan showed he suffered a slight concussion. He will be re-evaluated on Monday. Dodgers LHP Tim Hamulack hit Barry Bonds in the right arm with his second pitch of the next inning and was ejected from the game for retaliating.

--1B Nomar Garciaparra made significant progress in his recovery from a strained muscle in his right side. Garciaparra began by swinging at soft tosses and will test the injury by taking live batting practice for the first time Monday. Garciaparra said he would like to take batting practice at least two consecutive days "to see how I recover" before he would consider returning to action. Garciaparra is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday. Dodgers manager Grady Little said he didn't think Garciaparra would be ready to come off the DL that quickly but that he could be activated within a few days.

--Teams ran wild against the Dodgers in 2005, stealing bases as much because of the pitching staff's failure to hold runners effectively as the poor throwing of Cs Jason Phillips and Dioner Navarro. Though a great deal of emphasis in spring training workouts was placed on slowing the opposing team's running game, those efforts have gone for naught so far. Cs Sandy Alomar Jr. and Navarro have not thrown out a runner in 12 steal attempts.

--RHP Brad Penny was hit in the pitching arm by a groundball during his start against the Giants on Friday. Penny pitched another two innings after getting hit. He suffered a bruise near his elbow, but it should not affect his next scheduled start, Wednesday against the Cubs.

--SS Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers' leadoff hitter, has been playing through a series of injuries since he reported to spring training recovering from January knee surgery. Furcal has also had a sore shoulder at times, a lower back injury suffered in the final week of spring training, a shin contusion suffered during the season-opening series and now a jammed middle finger on his right hand. Furcal is hitting just .229. "It's early. He's going to be a great leadoff hitter for us. It'll come," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "I'm not going to say he's pain-free because very seldom in baseball are you going to find a player who's pain-free."

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH
: OF Jayson Werth had wrist surgery in November, and the pins were removed in January. He is not expected back until May at the earliest.

SS Cesar Izturis had "Tommy John" ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow in September. The early prognosis was that he would not return until after the All-Star break, but Izturis' recovery is well ahead of schedule.

CF Kenny Lofton opened the season on the disabled list with a strained calf, but he is back in the Dodgers' lineup.

1B Nomar Garciaparra suffered a strained ribcage muscle and landed on the DL. He hopes to be back this week.

RHP Eric Gagne underwent a second surgery on his right elbow and is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

RHP Yhency Brazoban has a torn ligament in his elbow, will undergo "Tommy John" ligament-replacement surgery and will not pitch again this season.

2B Jeff Kent suffered a mild concussion Sunday when hit in the hit by a pitch. His playing status is unclear.


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