Good News, Bad News Department

The Dodgers received the news in Denver that Derek Lowe, while he wouldn't pitch in the Giants series, he would see action on his next scheduled start. However, Randy Wolf suffered a setback and was shut down, his immediate future unknown. Penny will face the Giants and Jeff Kent's hamstring injury is being evaluated. And batting coach is being given credit for Nomar Garciaparra's resurgence.

Lowe-- Lowe threw on flat ground Sunday for a second day at Coors Field, and he reported no pain in his injured groin area. He was set to start Tuesday, but instead will throw a bullpen session Wednesday in preparation for a Saturday start against Arizona.

He is continuing medication and stretching in hopes of avoiding a recurrence of sharp pain in his landing leg. Doctors believe the cause to be aggravation of a previous Minor League injury. Lowe believes the injury is to his groin and unrelated to his hip. However, experts insist pain from hip injuries is routinely referred to the groin area.

Lowe and manager Grady Little are [overly?] confident that the flare-up that forced the pitcher from his last start in Houston has been resolved, although nobody will be sure until he airs it out Wednesday. Lowe said he has been unable to duplicate the pain and is annoyed at suggestions that the injury might be serious.

Wolf is back in the trainer's room and the club confirmed that he suffered a setback in his recovery from a shoulder impingement. He has been shut down indefinitely.

Wolf hasn't pitched since July 3 except for a Minor League rehab start for Inland Empire, but was stiff and sore the next day. There is no timetable for him to resume throwing, and with the trade deadline today at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, the Dodgers cannot count on Wolf's return.

Penny's abdominal strain seems to be a thing of the past after he passed a bullpen session Sunday with flying colors. He is scheduled to kick off the Giants series tonight with the Barry Bonds circus in full swing. Mark Hendrickson will start Wednesday night, followed by Brett Tomko on Thursday and Chad Billingsley on Friday against Arizona.

Penny was pleased with his bullpen session and said it was better than it's been in recent weeks. Manager Grady Little said the injury bothers Penny mostly while running the bases (he's hitting .293, sixth on the team) and covering bases on defense, and not in his windup or delivery. Penny left Thursday night's game after a stomach cramp while hustling out an infield single, his second hit of the night.

If Lowe is unable to make the Saturday start, the club plans to again put Eric Stults on the L.A.-Las Vegas shuttle again. Stults, who pitched one inning of relief Friday night for Las Vegas and will start there tonight, putting him on a five-day schedule to start Saturday for the Dodgers if needed.

Newly-minted batting coach Bill Mueller continues to draw accolades after Nomar Garciaparra's batting average shot up 12 points and his slugging percentage made a 20 point gain, mostly in the last two weeks.

Mueller explained, "He feels more confident because there were some mechanical things we saw, and he has an understanding of what was kind of off a bit and how to improve it.

"This happens to everybody, and it doesn't matter if you've been a batting champ. You might have one special year where you're locked in with your confidence, locked in with your concentration, locked in with your mechanics. Those are rare. The rest of us better know how to make the adjustments."

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers signed RHP Tim Gray from independent Chillicothe of the Frontier League. ...The Mets brought up outfielder Moises Alou from AAA and designated former Dodger catcher Sandy Alomar, Jr., for assignment. ...Cincinnati added RHP Ricky Stone to their 40-man roster. ...The Mets sent infielder David Newhan to AAA. ...San Diego dropped OF Hiram Bocachica from their 40-man roster. ...Texas traded OG Jon Weber to Tampa Bay for future considerations. ...