Bowa Waging a Losing Battle

Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa accused Bob Watson, Major League Baseball's vice president for on-field operations, of harboring a personal grudge against him after Watson suspended Bowa for three games on Wednesday and fined him an undisclosed amount.

      "It's ludicrous is what it is," Bowa said. "There is no due process. I called (Watson), and there was no return call. They don't want to hear the coach's side of anything. It's a joke. You have (players) who tested positive for steroids and even admitted taking them, and they're not even suspended. Bob Watson is very prejudiced against me, and I have no idea why."

   Bowa was suspended after an on-field blowup during Tuesday night's game in which he was ejected by third base umpire Ed Montague. Montague had ordered Bowa to remain within the confines of the coach's box, in observance of an edict issued before this season by baseball's playing rules committee, and Bowa had reacted angrily to Montague's request.

   Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti personally asked Watson to review the matter a second time, something Colletti said Watson has agreed to do. But for now, the ruling stands.

   The official statement released by Watson's office cited Bowa for "inappropriate and aggressive conduct" and accused Bowa of making physical contact with Montague "on multiple occasions" during the argument that followed Bowa's ejection.

   "(Watson) has been after me since I have been out of baseball as a player," Bowa said. "He has done it since I started coaching and managing. That's his gig. ... If Bob Watson was a man about things, he would be calling me back."

   A spokesman for the commissioner's office said this wasn't the first time Bowa has accused Watson of having a personal vendetta against him. The spokesman said Watson hasn't responded to the accusation in the past and wouldn't be responding to it this time, either.

Notes & Quotes
--3B Blake DeWitt went 3-for-4 with a double and now is hitting .556 in three big-league games. Conventional wisdom suggested DeWitt wasn't ready for the majors, and the only reason he made the Opening Day roster was because of injuries to Tony Abreu, Nomar Garciaparra and Andy LaRoche. But if DeWitt keeps hitting like this, the club will be hard-pressed to send him back to the minors when those players start coming off the disabled list.

   --RHP Chad Billingsley won't be brought back before his next scheduled turn on Monday night at Arizona because manager Joe Torre doesn't want to disrupt the rest of his rotation. Billingsley's first appearance of the season was limited by rain to four batters, one-third of an inning and 20 pitches.

   --LHP Hong-Chih Kuo, who hadn't been used out of the bullpen in either of the first two games, drew the spot start Wednesday in place of RHP Chad Billingsley. Although Kuo walked the first two batters and wound up throwing some 25 pitches in the first inning alone, he did manage to pitch three shutout innings, limiting the Giants to one hit.

   --RHP Chan Ho Park, who was to have begun the season with Class AAA Las Vegas when the minor league season starts Thursday, instead had his contract purchased by the Dodgers after Wednesday's game. He will work in long relief.

   --INF Angel Chavez was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for RHP Chan Ho Park. Chavez, a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster, never played in the season's first three games.

   --1B James Loney went 5-for-9 in the season-opening series with the Giants, with three walks, a run and an RBI. Since last Sept. 1, Loney is hitting .395 with nine homers and 33 RBIs.

By The Numb3rs: 115,300 -- People attending Saturday night's exhibition between the Dodgers and Red Sox at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is expected to go into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest crowd ever to watch a baseball game. Proceeds from the game went to ThinkCure, the Dodgers' official charity. The game was played as a nostalgic nod to the 50th anniversary of the team's move to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, whereupon it played four seasons at the storied Coliseum before construction was completed on Dodger Stadium in time for the 1962 season.

Quote to Note:-- "I'm still not as familiar (with Blake DeWitt) as I would I would like to be right now. I rely on my coaches who have seen him. And really, if he happens to make this club, you have to understand that he isn't the answer in order for us to win. We certainly don't want to pile on that kind of responsibility (on) him." -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre on the rookie, who despite limited minor league experience is the team's everyday third baseman until Nomar Garciaparra returns from his injury.

Roster Report
RHP Chan Ho Park was added to the roster after the season-opening series, giving the Dodgers 12 pitchers. INF Angel Chavez was designated for assignment.

   1. RHP Brad Penny
   2. RHP Derek Lowe
   3. RHP Chad Billingsley
   4. RHP Hiroki Kuroda
   5. RHP Esteban Loaiza

   Club officials don't seem terribly concerned about the fact there isn't a left-hander among these five starters or among any of the top candidates to step in if anyone is injured. Penny and Lowe are savvy veterans at the front end. Billingsley appears to be coming into his own after two years of struggling with high pitch counts.

   Kuroda, who has a vast assortment of pitches, should have a honeymoon period in his first season after coming over from Japan. Loaiza will hold down the fifth spot until RHP Jason Schmidt returns, probably in late May.

   RHP Takashi Saito (closer)
   RHP Jonathan Broxton
   LHP Joe Beimel
   RHP Scott Proctor
   LHP Hong-Chih Kuo
   RHP Ramon Troncoso
   RHP Chan Ho Park

   This will be a strength, especially at the back end with Broxton setting up and Saito closing. Saito battled a calf injury early in camp and got off to a late start, but he is expected to have pitched about seven innings by Opening Day. Kuo was out of minor league options, but Torre wanted two lefties in the pen anyway.

   Beimel appeared in career-high 83 games last season. Proctor has appeared in that many each of the past two seasons.

   1. SS Rafael Furcal
   2. LF Andre Ethier
   3. C Russell Martin
   4. 2B Jeff Kent
   5. CF Andruw Jones
   6. RF Matt Kemp
   7. 1B James Loney
   8. 3B Blake DeWitt

   Once Kent and Garciaparra return from injuries, this will be a better group than it was last year, when the Dodgers finished next to last in the National League in home runs. But it has a dramatically different look than what the club officials thought it would when camp opened because it doesn't include Pierre at the top of the order.

   The addition of Jones lengthens the lineup from top to bottom. He'll provide better protection for Kent, and his presence allows Torre to bat Loney, one of the league's best hitters, near the bottom of the order.

   C Gary Bennett
   1B Mark Sweeney
   INF Chin-lung Hu
   OF Juan Pierre
   OF Delwyn Young

   A major question entering the season is how Pierre will adjust to coming off the bench, if in fact he is asked to do so. He has little to no power, so asking him to pinch-hit is a tall order. Sweeney is the primary left-handed pinch hitter, but there isn't an obvious candidate as a right-handed pinch hitter.
   Young made the team despite a mediocre spring because he is out of minor league options, but he batted .382 in limited big-league time last season and can play all three positions.

Rookie Watch:
RHP Hiroki Kuroda is a rookie in name only, but there will be adjustments to be made in his first season in the United States. He wasn't exactly lights-out during the spring, but the Dodgers made a three-year, $35.3 million commitment to him over the winter, and he will have to deliver if the team is to contend. INF Chin-lung Hu, a defensive wizard, also made an impression with the bat during limited major league time last year.

*M*A*S*H* 4077 Report
   RHP Jason Schmidt (right shoulder surgery in June 2007) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list. He isn't expected back until at least late May.
   3B Andy LaRoche (torn ligament in right wrist) had surgery March 10. He will be out eight to 10 weeks, putting him on track for a possible return in late May. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21.
   3B Nomar Garciaparra (microfracture at base of right wrist) was injured March 7. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. At the start of the season, he still couldn't swing a bat without pain.
   INF Tony Abreu (sore groin) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list. He will report to extended spring training in Vero Beach, Fla., on April 2.
   2B Jeff Kent (right hamstring strain) finally played on March 28, his first game action since March 5. He started on Opening Day.

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