"They Are Coming, Boys"

"They are only the first, boys. There's many coming right behind them and they have the talent and they're ready to play … unless you look out and wake up, they're going to run you right out of the ballpark," Brooklyn Manager Leo Durocher told the 1947 Dodgers when some of them complained about the signing of Jackie Robinson. Los Angeles Manager Grady Little could say nearly the same thing today, some 60 years later.

Durocher was talking about the talented group of black players the Dodgers were poised to call to action, including Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. Little might be talking about the "kids:" Joel Guzman, Chad Billingsley, Andy LaRoche, Willy Aybar, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin…the list goes on and on.

General Manager Ned Colletti changed a third of the Dodger bullpen, calling up lefty Joe Beimel and righthanded power pitcher Jonathan Broxton (21) to replace Hong-chih Kuo and Lance Carter, then immediately following the 3-2 loss to Arizona, he announced outfielder Andre Ethier (23) would be called up to replace Ricky Ledee who pulled a groin muscle during the game.

They are only the first, folks, the first of the crowded minor league arsenal that the Dodgers have been force feeding at Las Vegas and Jacksonville and the beginning of the youth movement that many of us have been waiting for for some time.

The 2006 Dodger machine, hitting on about half of its cylinders, scored twice in the first inning then lapsed into complete silence and lost a 3-2 decision to the Diamondbacks, squandering another fine pitching performance, this time by Brad Penny.

And Colletti has apparently seen enough.

Beimel and Broxton were on hand and were able to show their wares. Immediately after the game, Ethier was given a call and will be in uniform tonight. "Opportunity knocks and he's at the door," Colletti said about Ethier, acquired from Oakland in the Milton Bradley trade.

Ledee, primarily the club's left-handed pinch-hitter, pulled a left groin muscle trying to check his swing while striking out in the seventh inning. He fell to the ground at home plate, and needed help as he limped off the field.

Ethier was apparently picked over right-handed hitting Joel Guzman, at least in part because he bats left-handed like Ledee, and may be more disciplined at the plate. He's also a skilled outfielder and Guzman is just learning the position.

A portion of the Dodgers offensive non-production can be attributed to leadoff man Rafael Furcal and cleanup hitter Jeff Kent, who, Little laughingly said before the game, "Aren't hitting .400 between them. Furcal slid to .186 and Kent is hitting an even .200.

For this and the reasons, the club's offense continued to misfire and has been a prime factor in their 2-9 record in one-run games in just a bit over one full month's play.

Starter Brad Penny threw five scoreless innings, although he gave up three doubles and three runs in the second inning after Los Angeles has scored single runs in the first and second.

If you had trouble finding a place to park and arrived in the top of the third inning, you only got to see seven scoreless innings.

Penny found himself without an off-speed pitch and the Diamondbacks were pounding his fastball -- not putting a single strikeout in the books -- but he finished his six innings after allowing only the three runs, an indication he has stopped being just a thrower and has become a pitcher.

Old friend Shawn Green, who was the target of boo-birds in Dodger Stadium because of his real or imagined fielding deficiencies, made a three-run error in the first inning to allow a run that scored on J. D. Drew's single, then redeemed himself by leaping to snatch Drew's bid for a two-run home run by reaching over the fence in the top of the third inning.

The Dodgers had runners in scoring position three times during the game, including a bases-loaded, one out sixth inning that was ended on a 1-2-3 double play off the bat of Sandy Alomar.

The second, and final, run came when suddenly-hot Nomar Garciaparra (.321) doubled and Alomar's single in inning number two.

Olmedo Saenz banged a two-out double in the ninth but Jason Repko fanned to end the inning and the game.

Garciaparra and Penny, with two each, collected four of the Dodgers eight hits.

The first looks at the new additions to the bullpen must have pleased Little. Beimel, who replaced Hong-Chih Kuo, gave up a ground-rule double, but struck out the final batter in a scoreless seventh inning.

Broxton, who replaced the Lance Carter, threw a soft fly ball, a routine grounder and nailed the final batter in the eighth looking at a fastball on the inside corner.

Beimel, who is wearing uniform No. 97, the highest number ever in Dodger history, erasing the record No. 77 worn by outfielder Joe Medwick and coach Chuck Dressen in 1940, arrived in Phoenix with a 3-0, 1.38 record over 10 games in Las Vegas.

Broxton, who can crank his fastball up into the 100 mph range, didn't allowing a run over 11 games and 11.1 innings while fanning 18 PCL hitter.

They are coming and I, for one, can't wait.
  Score by innings
Dodgers  110 000 000-2
Arizona  030 000 00x-3

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      4 0 1 0 .200
Lofton, CF      4 1 0 0 .264
Drew, RF        4 0 0 1 .292
Kent, 2B        4 0 1 0 .186
Broxton, P      0 0 0 0 .000
Garciaparra, 1B 4 1 2 0 .321
Mueller, 3B     3 0 0 0 .289
Alomar, C       3 0 1 1 .429
b-Saenz, PH     1 0 1 0 .310
1-Cruz, PR      0 0 0 0 .231
Repko, LF       4 0 0 0 .308
Penny, P        2 0 2 0 .286
a-Ledee, PH     1 0 0 0 .258
Beimel, P       0 0 0 0 .000
Robles, 2B      0 0 0 0 .125
  Totals       34 2 8 2
  DBacks       32 3 9 3

  Error- Mueller.  2B hits- Garciaparra 
(3), Saenz (4). RBI- Drew (19), Alomar (5).
LOB- Dodgers 6, Arizona 9. DP- (Furcal,
Kent and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers       in h r-er bb so era
Penny (L, 2-1) 6.0 8  3-3 2  0 2.68
Beimel         1.0 1  0-0 1  1 0.00
Broxton        1.0 0  0-0 1  0 0.00
  T: 2-37. Att- 20,099.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Eric Gagne played soft toss for the first time since undergoing surgery to remove a nerve from his right elbow on April 29 and after making about 30 "pitches" from 40 feet, declared that it felt good. The surgery was his second in less than a year. Gagne rehabbed during much of spring training after serious surgery mid-way through 2005 to repair a ligament in his right elbow. When he started throwing, his pitches hit 91 on the speed gun and he was using a variety of curves, sliders and changeups to get by. The pain when Gagne threw on back-to-back days in the final week of the exhibition season finally so great that a second operation was performed. …The new color scheme in newly reseated Dodger Stadium is creating new sightline problems for the club's infielders. The seats are pastel yellow -- they were dark blue before the renovation -- in the club section, just as they were when the park was opened in 1962. Dodgers infielders are complaining that they can't see the ball very well against the background of the seats when it is hit at them. "We are looking into it," team spokesperson Camille Johnston told Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, but she declined to elaborate.

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