Dodgers-Braves Open Spring Season Today

Randy Wolf, who signed with the Dodgers a free agent in the offseason, says his arm hasn't felt so good since college and he will test it today against Atlanta in the first exhibition game of the 2007 season. He missed most of last season after undergoing a Tommy John operation.

  The Dodger lineup appears set with shortstop Rafael Furcal returning in the leadoff spot and Pierre dropping to second, after manager Grady Little agonized for some time before making the decision. Although not making the trip, first baseman Nomar Garciaparra bat third, Jeff Kent fourth and Luis Gonzalez fifth. James Loney -- who is also working in the outfield -- will take care of first; Damian Jackson, Ramon Martinez or Tony Abreu will man second and probably Jason Repko or Matt Kemp will be in left.

Rookie whizz Russell Martin will bat sixth in Little's newly constructed lineup. Wilson Betemit will hit in the seventh slot and Andre Ethier will play left field and hit eighth.

Following Wolf tomorrow will be Chad Billingsley, Travis Smith, Chin-Hui Tsao, Tim Hamulack and John Meloan.

Labine Ailing-- Former Dodgers pitcher Clem Labine had brain surgery at a Vero Beach (Fla.) hospital to investigate a mass in his head. Labine, the Dodgers closer throughout the 1950s, was hospitalized Feb. 13 because of pneumonia and has been in a coma for more than a week.

Look Quick, There He Is-- Sandy Koufax, who lives in Vero Beach and splits his time on a small island in the Caribbean, made his first appearance of the season in Dodgertown. Koufax spoke briefly with Maury Wills in his office -- the bunting cage near the clubhouse. Then the 71-year-old Hall of Famer disappeared into the "Field of Dreams" cornfield, or wherever he goes.

Hall of Fame Says 'No' -- again-- Gil Hodges, Don Newcombe and Maury Wills failed to gain entry to baseball's Hall of Fame yet again Tuesday, as did former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley and Buzzie Bavasi on the "composite" ballot for non-playing personnel.

As a matter of fact, the committee, apparently guarding the front door of the Hall of Fame with all their might, failed for the third time (they vote every two years) to choose anyone.

Hodges, the silent leader of the Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the 1950s, received 50 of the 62 votes needed for election (75 percent of the 82 ballots cast). Hodges actually lost ground after getting 52 votes two years ago.

Wills, who stole a record 104 bases and won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1962 and currently works as a spring-training instructor with the team, received 33 votes. Newcombe, the only pitcher who ever received the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards, got 17 votes.

Pompous Joe Morgan, the board's vice-chairmen, said "I personally think we are doing the right thing (not electing anyone). The integrity of the Hall of Fame has to be first and foremost in everybody's mind."

Hall of Fame chairwoman Jane Clark said the format used in 2003, 2005 and 20-07 will be re-evacuated when the board meets in March.

"The board may decide that the trends are not what we thought they were going to be, Perhaps this hasn't worked as well as some of the board members thought it would and maybe it needs a little bit of change."

Do you think, Jane?

Dodger Blue Notes-- Greg Miller received the ultimate compliment from manager Grady Little recently after Little watched him throw. "We shouldn't be surprised if Greg is in an L.A. Dodgers uniform before the year is over," he said. "He's been very impressive." The Dodgers No. 1 prospect in 2003, his second minor league season missed the 2004 season recovering from shoulder surgery. He pitched sparingly but effectively the last two years but was never completely healthy. "I'd never seen the guy I heard about in 2003," Little said. "This spring is totally different. He's here on a mission. He could be getting ready to light up some eyes." Miller made 25 starts in 2003, giving up 118 hits and striking out 151 in 142 1/3 innings. He has been primarily a reliever since then, but Little said he might return to a starting role. …NEW Major League Baseball's newest postseason television partner, TBS, was at Dodgertown filming promotional pieces. Under a contract that runs through 2013, TBS will start televising all Division Series playoff games and potential tiebreakers. The cable network will also air the National League Championship Series this season and in every odd-numbered year through the duration of the deal, while broadcasting the American League Championship Series in even-numbered seasons.

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