Dodger Inside Pitch - October 27

   A tradition will be broken when the Freeway Series between the Dodgers against the Angels on the final weekend of the exhibition-game schedule is being phased out. The Dodgers will play at Angel Stadium on March 27, but that will be the only meeting between the rivals until they play in the regular season. The Angels will end their preseason schedule with a home-and-home series with the Padres.

   "We've done it before," Angels spokesman Eric Kay said of playing San Diego.

   The Dodgers are still looking for opponents to fill a few gaps in their schedule, including the final weekend that is usually filled with games against the Angels.

   Major League Baseball is entertaining thoughts of holding some spring training games in China, and the Dodgers are one of the teams being considered for play in Beijing. With a decision still pending, the Dodgers have not been able to give the Angels a firm commitment to continue the Freeway Series.

   "It just didn't work out for either team," Dodgers official Josh Rawitch said. "We still have a lot of holes to fill in our schedule and the Angels wanted to finalize their schedule. It's not like there are any bad feelings between the two teams."

   The Freeway Series began in 1962, and with the exception of a three-year gap from 2000-2002, it has continued to thrive.

   But don't expect the Freeway Series to return in 2009. The Dodgers are expected to move their spring training home from Vero Beach, Fla., to Glendale, Ariz., by 2009. Once that happens, the Dodgers and Angels will play each other regularly during the exhibition season and have no real need for a Freeway Series.

   Also, interleague play allows the Dodgers and Angels to play six times during the regular season.

   The Angels have beaten the Dodgers 54 times in exhibition games while losing 43. There have been three ties.

Notes and Quotes
   --RHP Jonathan Broxton missed his goal of finishing the 2007 season with a 2.50 ERA. The hard-throwing relief pitcher threw a career-high 82 innings, going 4-4, but he ended the season with a 2.84 ERA. Broxton's ERA goal for the 2006 season was 3.00 and he finished that season at 2.59.

   --OF Jason Repko, sidelined for the entire 2007 season with a torn left hamstring, was sidelined after one week in the Arizona Instructional League because of pain in his right ankle. Repko suffered a high ankle sprain in 2006. He is optimistic about reporting healthy to spring training.

   --INF Chin-Lung Hu was batting .273 through 10 games in the Arizona Fall League before slightly pulling a muscle in his midsection. The injury is considered to be minor, and he could be playing again shortly.

   --OF Delwyn Young, who batted .382 in 19 games last season, was the starting designated hitter in Team USA's first Arizona Fall League game on Oct. 25. Team USA is preparing to play in the World Cup in Taiwan next month and is using games in the Arizona Fall League to prepare for the tournament. Young singled in his first at-bat.

   --LHP Greg Miller, who was plagued by control problems that led to his demotion from Class AAA to Class AA in 2007, was 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA after three starts in the Arizona Fall League. Miller gave up two hits, one run and had three strikeouts in a two-inning start on Oct. 24. Miller was selected to play for the West Team in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Showcase on Oct. 26 in Surprise, Ariz.

   --The Dodgers promoted De Jon Watson to assistant general manager, player development on Oct. 24. Watson was the team's director of player development in 2007.

By the Numb3rs-- The number of Dodgers (past and present) representing Team USA in the World Cup next month in Taiwan: manager Davey Johnson, coach Reggie Smith, 3B Andy LaRoche and OF Delwyn Young.

Quote to Note-- "It's not like picking the lesser of two evils." -- OF Delwyn Young on the prospect of missing the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing because he would be on the Dodgers' 25-man roster.

Looking for Power-- The Dodgers will go into the offseason singing a familiar tune. Whether the song has a happy ending remains to be seen."Since I've been here, I've been singing the same refrain about a middle-of-the-order bat," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "Everybody in the league looks for pitching. We're no different. I think we're in a better spot than most clubs. But if you go back to last spring, everybody was saying we had eight starting pitchers. We needed 10. Eight wasn't near enough."

Biggest Needs-- The Dodgers need a hitter who can reach the outfield walls and beyond. 2B Jeff Kent led the club with 20 home runs in 2007, which ranked last among home run leaders in the National League. The free agent market will feature some heavy hitters, but most of them are in the outfielders. The Dodgers can create some space in their outfield, but only by trading some of their up-and-coming talent.

Free Agents-- INF Olmedo Saenz, INF Ramon Martinez, OF Luis Gonzalez, RHP Roberto Hernandez, LHP David Wells, INF Mark Sweeney, RHP Rudy Seanez, INF Shea Hillenbrand. Saenz and Martinez struggled in 2007, which may lead to their departure from Los Angeles. That could lead the Dodgers to retain Sweeney, who is second on the all-time pinch-hit list.

Plus pitcher Zach Hammes and catcher Chad Moeller accepted minor league assignments while Tim Hamulak opted to become a free agent as the Dodgers made room on their 40-man-roster for Yhency Brazoban, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jason Schmidt, Chin-hui Tsao, Randy Wolf and Jason Repko who had been on the disabled list.

Arbitration Eligible-- LHP Joe Beimel, LHP Mark Hendrickson, RHP Yhency Brazoban, RHP Scott Proctor, OF Jason Repko, RHP Chin-hui Tsao.

   Beimel lost his arbitration hearing last winter but is in a much better position to come out ahead should things go that way this offseason. Beimel cut his hand and was unable to play in the 2006 postseason for the Dodgers, but he appeared in 83 games this year, becoming one of the more reliable components in the bullpen.

In Limbo-- C Mike Lieberthal, OF Matt Kemp, LHP Randy Wolf.

   Lieberthal is waiting to see if the Dodgers will pick up his option for $1.4 million or buy out the contract for $100,000. Chad Moeller played during the final week of the season as a tryout to be the Dodgers' backup next season. If the Dodgers find the power they're looking for, and it happens to be in an outfielder, the thought is that Kemp could find himself playing for another team next season. Wolf is coming off of shoulder surgery, and though he would like to come back, he is waiting to see if the Dodgers will pick up his option (at $9 million). *M*A*S*H* 4077 Report
   INF Tony Abreu (sports hernia surgery in October 2007) will recover for six to eight weeks before re-engaging in baseball activities.

   SS Rafael Furcal (slightly bulging disk in back) missed the final two weeks of the 2007 season but won't need surgery for that or his sprained left ankle. Rest and rehabilitation should have him ready to go by spring training.

   RHP Jason Schmidt (shoulder surgery in June 2007) could begin a throwing program early in the offseason. Early indications were that he had healed from his surgery.

   OF Jason Repko (left hamstring surgery in March 2007) missed all of the 2007 season. He has been sidelined in the Arizona Fall League due to a right ankle injury.

   LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (left elbow surgery in July 2007) had begun a rehab program before the end of the 2007 season.