Royals Nearly Blank L.A.; Manny has 3 hits

Hiroki Kuroda, the Dodgers' opening day pitcher, was tapped for eight hits and four runs as Kansas City dumped Los Angeles 4-1 on Military Day. Royals pitching was unsolvable to almost everyone but Manny Ramirez, who collected three of the five L.A. hits.

Only a pair of walks in the ninth and a single by Doug Mientkiewicz kept the Dodgers from being shut out. They had been held to four hits up until the final inning. Walks to Orlando Hudson and Andre Ethier preceded Mientkiewicz's RBI.

Three of the L.A. hits, all singles, came from the bat of Ramirez, who quickly boosted his average to .500. Kuroda himself collected the fourth hit.

After Kuroda checked out with two gone in the sixth, Erick Threets, Jeff Weaver, Guillermo Mota and Hong-Chih Kuo held Kansas City to only two hits over the final 3.1 innings, both of them coming off Weaver,

Kuroda allowed a sac fly by Jose Guillen in the fourth inning for the initial K.C. run. Guillen also doubled in a run and Mike Aviles and Willie Bloomquist collected the other RBI.

Gil Meche, a 14-game winner last year for the Royals, allowed only four hits over the first seven innings and struck out six to claim the win. He retired the Dodgers on three pitches in the seventh inning.

Although eight rookies from the minor league side of the camp were in uniform, none of them saw any action.

Los Angeles slid to 13-15 and will give the ball to Randy Wolf, who leads the Dodgers with three victories this spring, takes the mound against the White Sox who will be the home team. Third baseman Casey Blake is expected back in the lineup after attending to the birth of his third child and missing Friday's game.

 Score by innings
Kansas City	000 121 000-4
Los Angeles	000 000 000-0

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  0  0  .196
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .000
Hudson 2b	3  0  0  0  .224
 Maza pr	0  1  0  0  .125
Ramirez lf	3  0  3  0  .500
 Paul pr-lf	1  0  0  0  .339
Ethier rf	2  0  0  0  .250
Martin c	3  0  0  0  .375
 Ellis c	0  0  0  0  .320
Loney 1b	3  0  0  0  .239
 Mientkiewicz 1b 1  0  1  1  .300
Kemp cf	        3  0  0  0  .246
 Repko cf	0  0  0  0  .281
DeWitt	        3  0  0  0  .281
 Hu ss	        0  0  0  0  .279
Kuroda p	2  0  1  0  .500
 Threets p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Weaver p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Mota p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Castro ph-3b	1  0  0  0  .426
--------------------------
 Totals	        28 1  5 0
 Royals	        36 4 10 4

 Error- Furcal (2). LOB- Los Angeles 4,
Kansas City 8. RBi- Mientkiewicz (11)
DP- Loney (unassisted)

 Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era	
Kuroda (1-1)	5.2  8  4-4  1  3  2.55
Threets	        0.2  0  0-0  0  0  5.68
Weaver	        1.0  2  0-0  0  3  7.00
Mota	        0.2  0  0-0  0  1  2.89
Kuo	        0.1  0  0-0  1  0  7.36
 WP- Kuroda. T-2:40. Att- 9,126.
Hello Eric!
The Dodgers all-time saves leader, Eric Gagné showed up at Camelback Ranch and was clear that he didn't think he was washed up.

He had been released by Milwaukee on March 9 after a slight tear in his right rotator cuff was discovered. He turned down shoulder surgery and opted to rehab the injury.

Gagné, now 33, said he was going to start throwing in about two weeks and then would invite scouts to look him over.

"I wouldn't do this if I didn't think I could still pitch," Gagné, who had a 5.44 ERA in 50 games with the Brewers last year compared to his 1.20 ERA in 2003, told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "You realize how much you miss it."

Billingsley Says He's "OK"
Chad Billingsley, who has been sidelined with a right groin pull, pitched a short bullpen session and said it went well. He threw about 30 pitches off the mound and said he plans to throw about 90 pitches on Sunday morning in a simulated game against minor league hitters.

"I could've thrown yesterday but they just wanted to give me an extra day," Billingsley told Ramona Shellburne of the L.A. Daily News. "It went well. I just eased into it and it felt like a normal bullpen session."

Rookie Josh Lindblom is penciled in for his first start on Monday.

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