With Colletti, the beat goes on

General Manager Ned Colletti still has faith that he can re-sign pitcher Jeff Weaver in the next two weeks, but he's not putting all his pitching in one basket, so to speak. He can still pursue Weaver until January 8, but if that fails he will either make a trade or nail down another free agent for the staff.

"I'm not afraid to go into the trade market and do it," Colletti said, and although we have known him for only a short time, we believe what he says.

The Dodgers are suddenly looking like a contender. Four spots in the rotation appears set. Newly acquired Brett Tomko probably will follow Derek Lowe, Brad Penny and Odalis Perez.

Although the Dodgers are Tomko's sixth team -- Cincinnati, Seattle, San Diego, St. Louis and San Francisco -- he said Dodger Stadium "felt like home."

And he pitched like it. In 13 appearances, Tomko is 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA while pitching in Chavez Ravine.

Tomko come armed with a fastball that consistently reaches the low 90s and can hit 95 mph, he made 30 or more starts in each of the past four years, and he has pitched more than 200 innings in a season three times. Only 11 NL starters have pitched more innings over the past four seasons than Tomko.

Among current National League pitchers, only 11 starters have logged more innings over the past four years than Tomko's total of 791.2, including fellow Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe (827.2), who ranks seventh on that list.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander has registered at least 10 victories in four of the six seasons in which he has made at least 20 starts, including a pair of 13-win campaigns.

"I think at times I have reached my potential," Tomko said. "The second half of 2004 was probably the best I've thrown. I think the biggest thing is just piecing that together for an entire six months instead of four. I always have one bad month or a handful of games that kind of inflate all my big stats. ... I've always had to crawl and fight back out of it."

"I think adding Brett is a huge plus," Colletti said. "He gives us four starters capable of going 180 to 210 innings. He's won a lot of games. We have a staff that will accentuate his strengths. I think he has more upside than he's shown. I'd like to add one more starting pitcher if I can. I've been having daily conversations. If there is something that appeals to me, I'm not afraid to go into the trade market and do it."

Dodger Blue Notes--The Dodgers announced that they have signed four players to minor league contracts and invited them to Spring Training. They included Infielder Chris Truby, left-handed pitcher Kelly Wunsch and outfielders Tydus Meadows and Jon Weber.

Truby, 32, has appeared in 263 games over four seasons with Houston, Montreal, Detroit and Tampa Bay, compiling 23 homers and 107 RBI during that span. The Palm Springs native has played primarily third base during his career, which included a postseason appearance with the Astros in 2001. In 2005, he hit 20 homers and drove in 66 runs in 106 games for Triple-A Omaha in the Royals' system.

Wunsch, 33, came to Spring Training with the Dodgers in 2005 as a non-roster invitee and earned a spot on the Major League club. He was on pace to set a single-season franchise mark for appearances by a southpaw before suffering a season-ending right ankle injury on July 7. In 45 games for Los Angeles, Wunsch went 1-1 with a 4.56 ERA while limiting left-handers to a .194 average (12-for-62). He required surgery to repair the torn ligament in his ankle and subsequently, he underwent another procedure on his left hip on Sept. 13.

Meadows, 28, will come to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee for the second consecutive season. He has averaged 16 homers and 72 RBI over the past four seasons in the minor leagues, including a solid season at Double-A Jacksonville last year. While playing for the Southern League Champions, Meadows hit .274 with 15 homers and 65 RBI following a strong showing in the spring, where he hit .417 (5-for-12) with a homer and four RBI in Grapefruit League action.

Weber, 27, also returns for a second season following a successful campaign at Jacksonville. Weber batted .300 with 11 homers and 68 RBI for the Suns, improving his career minor league average to .289 over seven seasons. The left-handed hitting outfielder ranked second on the Suns' squad in hits and RBI while posting a .456 slugging percentage.