Help May Be on the Way for L.A. Rotation

On a night in Minnesota when Dodger wunderkind Chad Billingsley pitched like … well, like a 21-year-old, talk of a trade with Tampa Bay swirled around the Metrodome line a breath of fresh air. Billingsley showed his wild side Monday night, walking seven and hitting a batter while allowing six runs in an 8-2 loss to the Twins.

The Dodgers saw their four-game winning streak snapped and the club managed just six hits off Twins starter Carlos Silva. They didn't advance a runner past second base after the third inning.

The Dodger lead over San Diego was cut to a half game but the talk of the 'Dome was the proposed swap of catcher Dioner Navarro to Tampa for 32-year-old lefty Mark Hendrickson, with backup catcher Toby Hall coming to the Big Orange in the deal.

Meanwhile, back on the field, Billingsley, who had two strong starts previous to taking his first loss Monday night, threw 53 pitches in the first two innings and surrendering four walks and a HBP to put the Dodgers in a 4-1 hole.

He admitted that he was trying to be too fine and apparently corrected things because he worked into the sixth inning before departing.

Billingsley, who is 0-1 in his first three Major League starts, left in the sixth inning and reliever Hong-Chih Kuo didn't help, allowing hits to the first two batters he faced.

He left with two out in the sixth and was tagged with six earned runs. The right-hander threw 103 pitches, just 55 for strikes.

That put the Dodgers (40-36) down 6-2 and they never recovered. They still hold the NL West lead, just in front of the San Diego Padres who were idle.

The Dodgers' Nomar Garciaparra, the top hitter in the National League at .364, was 2-for-4 and knocked in a run. running his hitting streak to 10 games.

Designated hitter J.D. Drew doubled to lead off the second inning. He scored two batters later when Andre Ethier hit a sacrifice fly to right field. In the third inning, Rafael Furcal singled and stole second base. Nomar Garciaparra singled to drive in Furcal, who had two hits.

Ethier lost the ball in the dome's lights, the ball going for a triple and driving in a pair of runs to give Minnesota a 4-1 lead. Ethier also threw out a runner at the plate for an inning-ending double play.

Tough Luck Pitcher

Hendrickson is 4-8 after 13 starts but has a solid 3.81 ERA. He would be a fit for a rotation that can count on Derek Lowe and Brad Penny but has little more consistency.

Hendrickson, who just turned 32 on Friday, started on Sunday against Atlanta, taking a tough loss.
His record
year   team   w-l   era gm gs  in  h  bb so
2002 Toronto  3-0  2.45 16  4  37  25 12 21
2003 Toronto  9-9  5.51 30 30 158 207 40 76
2004 TBay   10-15  4.81 32 30 183 211 46 87
2005 TBay    11-8  5.44 31 31 178 178 49 89
2006 TBay     4-8  3.81 13 13  90  81 34 51
A second report said that both Hendrickson and Hall were told before the Devil Rays' game Monday night that they had been traded to the Dodgers, but that was unconfirmed.

Hall, the Devil Rays starting catcher, didn't play Monday with backup Josh Paul behind the plate for a second consecutive start, something a source close to the club called "highly unusual."

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has made no announcement and Roy Smith, the club's vice president for scouting and player development who is on the current road trip, wasn't available for comment.

Navarro went on the disabled list with a bruised right wrist and lost his job to Russell Martin, who came into the first game of the Minnesota series hitting .307.

Navarro, obtained from Arizona, is improving defensively and demonstrated an adequate bat. Hall is eligible for free agency after the season.

Good News for Gagne--Dodgers closer Eric Gagne no longer is feeling pain in his surgically repaired right elbow and has begun the strengthening portion of his latest rehabilitation program. He isn't scheduled to begin throwing until at least Friday. Gagne is on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season and has made 16 appearances since the start of last season, including two this year.
  Score by innings
Dodgers   011 000 000-2
Minnesota 130 002 02x-8

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      4 1 2 0 .257
Lofton, CF      4 0 0 0 .290
Garciaparra, 1B 4 0 2 1 .364
Drew, DH        4 1 1 0 .282
Kent, 2B        4 0 1 0 .274
Ethier, LF      3 0 0 1 .326
Kemp, RF        3 0 0 0 .321
Izturis, 3B     3 0 0 0 .400
Martin, C       3 0 0 0 .301
  Totals       32 2  6 2
  Twins        32 8 12 8

  2B- Drew (11). RBI- Ethier (20), 
Garciaparra (46). SF- Ethier. LOB- 
Los Angeles 4, Minnesota 9. SB- 
Furcal (17). DP- 3 (Ethier and 
Martin; Martin and Kent; Furcal, 
Kent and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers            in h r-er bb so era
Billingsley (L,0-1) 5.2 7  6-6 7 2 5.62
Kuo                 1.1 2  0-0 1 1 5.56
Baez                1.0 3  2-2 0 0 4.42
  WP- Baez. T- 2-30. Att- 22,528.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Left-hander Odalis Perez will start Wednesday's series finale with the Twins in place of Brett Tomko, whose strained left oblique still hasn't healed sufficiently to allow him to pitch. …Because there are only five broadcast booths on the baseball press level of the Metrodome, the Dodgers' Spanish-language radio crew was relegated to one in the football press area. …Monday's game in the Metrodome is the first on artificial turf for the Dodgers since Aug. 24-26, 2004, in Montreal. …The Dodgers send Derek Lowe to the mound tonight Minnesota's Francisco Liriano.

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