Furcal Will Lead Off in 2007

Manager Grady Little announced that shortstop Rafael Furcal will remain his leadoff hitter and new center fielder Juan Pierre will bat second. "The way I see it, if one guy makes an out, we still have another leadoff hitter coming up," said Little. Furcal hit.300 with 15 homers, 63 RBI and 37 stolen bases in 159 games last season. Pierre played in all 162 games, batting .292 and swiping 58 bases.

Since 2003, Pierre and Furcal have combined for 5,198 at-bats, and rank third and eighth in the Majors, respectively. The last time Pierre hit second regularly was during the 2003 season when he shared the leadoff spot with Luis Castillo on the Marlins' World Championship squad.    

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS – Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda addressed the team this morning and pulled no punches, speaking about the hard work and dedication that being a championship club requires. Lasorda would know, as his Dodger teams won eight division titles, four National League pennants and two World Championships from 1977-95.

This season will mark the 10-year anniversary of the skipper's induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Lasorda became the 14th manager and 52nd Dodger when he was inducted on Aug. 3, 1997, when he was voted in by the Veterans Committee in his first year of eligibility. This year, former Dodgers Maury Wills, Don Newcombe and Gil Hodges are on the Veterans' ballot, along with former Dodger owner Walter O'Malley and longtime executive Buzzie Bavasi. The latter two are on the Veteran's Composite ballot which is voted on once every four years.     

PITCHING PRACTICE– Several pitchers tossed what Dodger skipper Grady Little deemed "live pitching practice." On one field, several hurlers threw to batters who were instructed not to swing, while on the other diamonds, the hitters could take their cuts as the pitchers threw to their targets without any signs from the catcher.  Chad Billingsley, Tim Hamulack,  and Jonathan Meloan threw to a variety of hitters on Field 1, including Mike Lieberthal, Damian Jackson, Fernando Tatis and Choo Freeman.  

PICK YOUR FAVORITE HEAD-- The Dodgers will unveil three new bobblehead giveaways in 2007, beginning with Nomar Garciaparra Bobblehead Night on Thursday, April 26 during the first home series with the Giants. However, this year there's a twist. After Rafael Furcal Bobblehead Night on Friday, July 6, the final bobblehead of the season, on Thursday, August 2 will be completely left up to the fans in the Dodger Bobblehead Fans Vote Sweepstakes.

The Dodger faithful can go online to dodgers.com and decide who should be Bobblehead No. 3 from among the following players: Brad Penny, Russell Martin, Luis Gonzalez, Derek Lowe, Jason Schmidt and Juan Pierre. Five lucky fans who vote for their favorite player will be selected to receive four field tickets for the Aug. 2 game against the Giants, as well as a signed bobblehead from the winning player. Balloting for the contest ends at midnight PT on Tuesday, April 3 and the results will be announced April 13.  

SPRING TICKETS-- Tickets for the Dodgers' 16-game Grapefruit League home schedule may be purchased by logging on to the Dodger website – www.dodgers.com or www.ticketmaster.com, calling 1-866-DODGERS or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet as well as the Holman Stadium ticket office.    

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