Ramirez Leaves Game With Sore Hamstring

With three weeks of spring training left, there is certainly still time for a dark-horse candidate for the Dodgers fifth starting spot, but Colorado may have made it more difficult for Eric Milton and Claudio Vargas who were banged around in a 9-5 Colorado win.

Manny Ramirez, playing the field for the first time this season, strained his hamstring chasing a Colorado double into the left field corner and left the game after grounding out in his only time at bat.

A glimmer of good news brightened things a bit when it was announced that RHP Justin Orenduff, who was designated for assignment two weeks ago to make room on the 40-man roster for Manny Ramirez, cleared waivers and was outrighted to the minor leagues.

Orenduff was a supplemental first-round pick in 2004 but suffered an arm injury and has had trouble working back into form. He was one of the Dodgers brighter lights in the minor leagues before being hurt.

He 3-7 with a 6.55 ERA in 31 games at Triple-A last year and will begin the 2009 season there again but in Albuquerque instead of Las Vegas.

Both Milton and Vargas are on a lengthy list of possibles but Milton was tagged for four runs, including a homer, in the first of his three innings and Vargas was a tad better, allowing only three runs in his initial inning before adding two scoreless innings.

Hong-Chih Kuo hit a wild streak in the eighth and after walking a pair of Rockies he was replaced with knuckleballer Charlie Hager who promptly allowed a single and two runs, both charged to Kuo.

Lefty Brian Mazone added a shutout inning in the middle of the other four pitchers but had to work around a walk and a single.

The Dodgers trailed 4-0 before they had a chance to bat and before many of the 11,175 fans were able to grab a hot dog and a beer and settle into their seats.

The deficit grew to 7-0 after four and Matt Kemp finally got the Dodgers on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the fifth that scored Casey Blake.

A.J. Ellis drove Hector Luna across the plate in the seventh and Luna added a late RBI and also rode home on big Victoria Pascucci's second long home run in two days and his third of the season.

The Dodgers, who slipped to 9-7, play split-squad road games against the A's and Mariners today (Monday). Manny Ramirez was scheduled to play against the Mariners but after (hopefully) just tweaking his hamstring, you can bet he won't be anywhere near the lineup.

Hiroki Kuroda, Jeff Weaver, Guillermo Mota and Cory Wade are scheduled to pitch against Seattle.

Joe Torre will travel with half of the split squad to watch fifth-starter candidates Jason Schmidt and Shawn Estes as they face Oakland.

Torre also told the media that the next round of cuts will probably be made Tuesday, following the Monday split-squad games, which makes these next three games something of an elimination round for the fifth-starter candidates.

As time winds down, it is unlikely the Dodgers will be able to continue providing innings for more than two of them so the results of the two games will actually mean something.

 Score by innings
Colorado	400 300 020-9
Los Angeles	000 010 130-5

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	3  0  0  0  .208
 Abreu ss	2  0  0  0  .100
Hudson 2b	3  0  1  0  .238
 Castro 2b	1  1  1  0  .464
Ramirez lf	1  0  0  0  .200
 Young ph-lf	2  0  0  0  .300
Martin dh	2  0  1  0  .417
 Jones ph-dh	2  0  0  0  .222
Blake 3b	1  0  1  0  .357
 Luna pr-3b	2  3  2  1  .200
Loretta 1b	2  0  0  0  .273
 Pascucci 1b	2  1  1  2  .583
Kemp cf	        3  0  1  1  .444
 Hoffmann rf	1  0  0  0  .400
Ausmus c	2  0  0  0  .400
 Ellis c	2  0  1  1  .333
Paul rf	        3  0  2  0  .417
 Repko pr-cf	1  0  0  0  .174
 Totals	        35 5 11 5
 Colorado	37 9 13 9

 Error- Hudson (1). 2 hits- Martin (2), 
Blake (1), Luna (1). HR- Pascucci (3). 
RBI- Kemp (6), Ellis (4), Luna 3, Pascucci 
2 (6). SB- Luna (1). CS- Kemp (2). DP- Ellis 
and Abreu. LOB- Los Angeles 5, Colorado 11.

 Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Milton (0-1)	3.0  6  4-4  2  1  5.40
Vargas	        3.0  5  3-3  2  4  7.15
Mazone	        1.0  1  0-0  1  0  0.00
Kuo	        0.2  0  2-2  2  1 27.00
Hager	        1.1  1  0-0  0  2  0.00
 HBP- by Milton, by Hager. T- 3:16. Att- 11,175.
Injuries-- The injury whammy is starting to kick up his (or her) heels. In addition to Ramirez, left-hander Erick Threets reported discomfort in his left shoulder after facing one batter on Saturday. And infielder Doug Mientkiewicz, who is fighting for a roster spot, injuring his quadriceps and left the game. ... We failed to report that left-hander Eric Stults pitched three shutout innings Saturday, allowing two hits, in a morning "B" game against the Chicago White Sox in Glendale.