Garciaparra Out, Loney In at First Base

First baseman Nomar Garciaparra fell prey to the Dodger injury bug which apparently is still hanging around Chavez Ravine. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list and 21-year-old first-base prospect James Loney was called to Los Angeles to replace him.

Garciaparra's injury came in the Sunday's Freeway Series finale against the Angels. After a cortisone injection Monday, he said that his side felt better but realizes that unless the injury heals completely, it could linger on throughout the season.

It was a disappointing blow for the 32-year-old Garciaparra who has undergone a major groin muscle tear and Achilles tendon injury over the past two seasons. He has been on the disabled list in three of his last five seasons, playing only 21 games in 2001, 81 in 2004 and 62 last season.

Along with Kenny Lofton's pulled calf muscle strain, the rebuilt Dodgers didn't get a single game out of the starting lineup, with Lofton and Garciaparra going down before the saw any official action.

Garciaparra was a quick study at first base during the spring but never got completely untracked at bat. He hit .242 with no home runs and a single RBI in 62 at-bats. Lofton hit .159 with two RBI and no stolen bases in 44 at-bats.

Conversely, the left-handed Loney had a spectacular spring, hitting .438 and demonstrated remarkable talent around the first base bag.

It will be quite a jump for the 21-year-old who never has played above he Double-A level. But he has been impressive over the past three springs. He hit .284 with 11 homers and 65 RBI in 138 games with Double-A Jacksonville last year. The Dodgers made him the 19th overall selection in the June 2002 draft.

He was in the starting lineup for the Dodgers' game with the Braves Tuesday night, batting in the fifth slot.

Eric Gagne Drops Appeal-- Eric Gagne informed the Commissioner's Office on Tuesday that he would drop his appeal and immediately begin serving a two-game suspension held over from last season. Gagne received the suspension on April 29, 2005, for violating the terms of a previous discipline that barred him from being in uniform and on the bench or in the bullpen during his stint on the disabled list.

Izturis May Move to outfield --Cesar Izturis is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment April 22, well ahead of schedule considering he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery on Sept. 16 and Manager Grady Little said he could be used at short if Rafael Furcal is injured, at second if Jeff Kent is forced to move to first base or even in the outfield. However, Izturis was not initially excited about the move to second or the outfield. Little wants to get him in the lineup somewhere and as quickly as possible.

Happy Birthday-- Greg Smith (39), Milton Bradley (28).