March 2009

Loretta Strains Groin

Three innings after Chad Billingsley left Monday’s Dodgers game with a mild strained right groin, utility infielder Mark Loretta left for the same reason. Loretta is expected to be the club’s primary utilityman and pinch-hitter. — Ken Gurnick

Estes Tries Relief

Veteran starting pitcher Shawn Estes Monday agreed to report to the Dodgers’ Minor League camp and attempt a transition to left-handed relief specialist. Estes, cut Sunday with a choice of reporting to the Minor Leagues or receiving his release, said the compromise was raised in a meeting he had Sunday with general manager Ned Colletti. The Dodgers have been unsuccessful finding a second left-handed reliever to compliment Hong-Chih Kuo. — Ken Gurnick

Maza Returns to Dodgers

Non-roster utility infielder Luis Maza, who played for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, returned to Camelback Ranch-Glendale. He’s got his work cut out to make the team as a utility infielder in competition with Blake DeWitt, Juan Castro, Doug Mientkiewicz and Chin-lung Hu. — Ken Gurnick

Manny’s Playing

Monday’s Dodgers Lineup

Matt Kemp           CF

Andre Ethier         RF

Manny Ramirez    DH

James Loney       1B

Russell Martin      C

Mark Loretta        3B

Blake DeWitt       2B

Xavier Paul           LF

Chin-lung Hu        SS

Chad Billingsley    P

Friday’s Dodgers Lineup

27        Matt Kemp                              CF

12        Brad Ausmus                            C

16        Andre Ethier (L)                       RF

7          James Loney (L)                       1B

5          Mark Loretta                            3B

33        Blake DeWitt (L)                      2B

3          Delwyn Young (S)                    DH

75        Xavier Paul (L)                         LF

14        Juan Castro*                            SS


49        Claudio Vargas                       RHP

Morning Pitching

Three Dodgers expected to make the Major League bullpen pitched in an early Minor League intrasquad game Thursday. Guillermo Mota allowed two runs in two innings, with four hits, a strikeout and walk. He made 36 pitches. Hong-Chih Kuo had a 22-pitch scoreless inning with a single, walk and strikeout. Cory Wade was the most efficient with an 11-pitch 1-2-3 inning. — Ken Gurnick

Kuo, Wade, Mota Pitching Early

Major League relievers Hong-Chih Kuo, Cory Wade and Guillermo Mota will pitch in a Minor League game Thursday at 11 a.m.. Kuo and Wade, both sidelined the first two weeks with sore arms, will pitch one inning each. Mota will pitch two innings. Having them pitch in a Minor League game provides to get their arms in shape, while saving innings in Thursday’s regular exhibition game against the Rockies for pitchers still battling for roster spots, including Eric Stults, Stephen Randolph, Jeff Weaver and Ramon Troncoso. — Ken Gurnick

Kuroda Starts Opening Day

Dodgers manager Joe Torre Wednesday named Japanese right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to start Opening Day April 6 against the Padres in San Diego. Kuroda will be followed in the rotation by Randy Wolf, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and “the mystery person,” said Torre, referring to the fifth starter to be named. That alignment will alternate between right-handers and left-handers over the first four games. Billingsley will start the Dodgers’ home opener April 13 against San Francisco. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Tuesday Lineup

15         Rafael Furcal (S)            SS

30         Orlando Hudson (S)        2B

16         Andre Ethier (L)             RF

7          James Loney (L)            1B

23         Casey Blake                  3B

27         Matt Kemp                    CF

9          Juan Pierre (L)               LF

44         A.J. Ellis                       C

21         Randy Wolf (L)               LHP

Light Day for Manny

Manny Ramirez, who left Sunday’s game after aggravating his hamstring, did not participate in morning workouts with the rest of the club and was not in the lineup for either of the club’s split-squad road games. Ramirez hit in the cage, but much of the day was to be spent receiving treatment. The club still believes his injury is relatively minor, but as a precautionary measure he’s likely to be brought back slowly to avoid a more serious injury. — Ken Gurnick