Wallach drawing praise

Tim Wallach, the fifth Dodger batting coach in the last year, is drawing praise from manager Jim Tracy and the rest of the squad and seems to be getting solid results. <br><br>

On the job only three weeks, he has emphasized the importance of quality at-bats and waiting for a pitch to drive.

"Tim is getting his points across," Tracy said. "You can see it every day. These guys are consciously aware of what they want to do with the ball. I see a lot of balls behind hit hard toward the middle of the field, especially with two strikes."

The Dodgers scored 32 runs in the first four games, an 8 runs per game average.

After ranking above only the Detroit Tigers last year with 574 runs (3.5 runs per game), they scored 13 in the first exhibition game and have continued scoring at a steady rate.

"We didn't do a good job of looking for a pitch we could hit hard last year and at times in 2002," Tracy said. "We're aware of it and we are doing everything we can to do something about it."

Dodger hitters also like what they have seen of their new coach. "He's still trying to get to know all the hitters," Dave Roberts said, "and that's a credit to Wallach. He's not just thinking there's only one way to do things. He's trying to take the time to get to know each of the hitters."

Jack Clark started the 2003 season as hitting coach but a serious motorcycle accident sidelined him and Bob Mariano and Manny Mota took over his duties on a temporary basis. Clark recovered and returned to the club but was released in August, replaced by George Hendrick who had filled the same job at Las Vegas.

Hendrick did not want the position on a permanent basis, choosing instead to return to Las Vegas in 2004. Wallach was hired February 17.

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