Rumor: Dodgers Interested in Inge

VERO BEACH, FL : A report out of Detroit says that the Dodgers have contacted them about third baseman Brandon Inge, and while talks do not seem to have progressed far, a baseball official familiar with the situation said the Dodgers remain interested in making a deal.

Inge would play third base for the Dodgers, who did not have a full-time third baseman last season and have been trying to decide between veteran Nomar Garciaparra and rookie Andy LaRoche this spring.

The report says New Dodgers manager Joe Torre is familiar with Inge from his time in the American League, and Torre and new Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa are said to be Inge backers. Inge carries a $6.2 million salary.

Not Yet Miller Time
Left-hander Greg Miller continues to struggle with wildness in his first outing of the spring. Miller walked the first two batters, allowed five hits and they all scored Friday in Orlando.

"Greg for me has made a lot of progress this spring, with a lot of positive things," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News.

"But the next step is being able to take it into a game. We feel like this is a quality young man with a quality arm, and he just needs to get over that hump and be able to take that into a ballgame and make adjustments within an inning.

"We believe in this young man, and he just needs to keep believing that with time, he can get through this thing.

"It was a good example of the game speeding up on him," said manager Joe Torre. "He tried to control his emotions, but he was wild into left-handers. It's the tough part of being a pitcher. It's up to us to let him know we're still behind him."

Manager Joe Torre has vowed to remain patient with Miller.

?"One thing we have to make sure we do is stay with him and continue to talk to him," Torre said. "We just have to make sure he believes in himself and finds a way. The tough part of being a pitcher is that if you struggle, you have to wait a few days before you go back out there again. But we want to let him know we're still behind him.''

"Sandy went through a similar thing, and to know there's the potential to have a similar career is pretty comforting," Miller said, referring to a discussion he had with Hall of Famer Koufax.

Tale of Two Pitchers
Adjustments have been made in Jason Schmidt's throwing program after he experienced fatigue during a bullpen session earlier in the week. Trainer Stan Conte said when Schmidt builds back up to bullpen-session status, he will take an additional day off between sessions to allow for added recovery. "In retrospect, I wish we would have given him additional days off," said Conte. "We anticipate there would be adjustments made as we saw him progress through the rehab. This is why we never set a timetable. These things occur during the normal course of a rehabilitation."
Esteban Loaiza allowed three runs (two on a homer by Javy Lopez) in two innings Friday. Loaiza was claimed off waivers last year in part to fill a rotation hole Schmidt's injury created, and the hole apparently still exists. Loaiza blamed his Friday problems on a tweaked delivery, suggested by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. The adjustment changes Loaiza's knee raise to force hip turn, generate lower-body power and greater pitch velocity, but his fastball hovered around the mid-80s and he sounded uncomfortable with the delivery change, although the Braves were delighted.

Spring Tryout
The Dodgers held a free-agent tryout on Fields 5 and 6. Although no one was signed on the day, many of the candidates were impressive, including former big league pitchers Danny Graves, Todd Williams, Jeff Tam, and Jose Cabrera to name a few. Also impressive, at least for his persistence, was 49-year-old knuckleballer Williams Downs, who Assistant General Manager, Scouting Logan White says has been coming to the tryout for at least six years in a row.   

For The Record
The Dodgers are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2008. In that period, they have won more games (4,252), more pennants (nine), and more World Series (five) than any other club in the National League. Since the start of the modern era in baseball, the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles, combined, have a cumulative attendance of more than 176 million, the highest total in the history of baseball or any other sport.