Notes: Dodgers ragged in opener
Betemit commits two of three Los Angeles errors vs. Atlanta
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Dodgers were a bit ragged defensively in a 7-2 loss to the Braves in their exhibition opener Thursday, committing three errors, two by third baseman Wilson Betemit on routine grounders."He's a better third baseman than what we saw today," said Dodgers manager Grady Little. "This was the first game of Spring Training against his old team. He's plenty adequate, better than average. He has a good arm and good hands. We like Wilson." But having stated at the opening of camp a desire to stress fundamentals, Little wasn't thrilled with the way the games started. "I'm not concerned about the pitching. I'm concerned about not executing plays," he said. "We have to get those down better than they were today." Fourth starter Randy Wolf made his Dodgers debut and Chad Billingsley launched his bid for the fifth-starter job with two innings apiece. Wolf allowed one run on four hits, made 37 pitches and wasn't happy that left-handed hitters accounted for three of the hits. "I wasn't getting my fastball where I wanted to lefties, and I usually can do that with my eyes closed," he said. "I have an idea how to fix it. It's mechanical. Physically, I felt fine." Both runs charged to Billingsley were unearned. He was throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters while trying to pitch more confidently. "Last year when I was called up, I tried to be too fine, and by the end of the year I went back to what got me here, just pounding the strike zone," he said. "That's my plan this spring." A little setback: Marlon Anderson's right elbow hurts because it felt too good. "It was feeling so good that I started to push it, started throwing across the infield and hitting extra, and the next day it was hurting and I couldn't do the normal stuff," said Anderson, who had surgery Oct. 10 to remove bone chips. "It's muscle, not anything in the elbow. Just have to get the inflammation out." Anderson hopes to be out no more than three days. Catching on: Mike Lieberthal, the veteran backup to catcher Russell Martin, has a history of injuries and is being eased into game action.
Lieberthal will be the designated hitter on Friday when the Dodgers play their Holman Stadium opener. The Dodgers have exercised the option of using the designated hitter rule in early games where the opposition -- in this case, the Nationals -- approves."He's on a little different schedule," Little said of Lieberthal. "We're not pushing him, but he'll catch games soon." Single-game tickets on sale Saturday: Individual game tickets for the Dodgers' 2007 home schedule will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. PT. This will be the first opportunity for fans to purchase single-game tickets to Opening Day, April 9, vs. the Rockies. Gate A at Elysian Park Avenue and Stadium Way will open at 8 a.m., and numbered wristbands will be handed out starting at 8:30 a.m. A lottery will be held at 9:30 a.m. to determine the start of the line, so there is no advantage to arriving early. There is a purchase limit of four tickets per fan for Opening Day. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting www.dodgers.com. Hey, Blue: The umpire crew chief for Friday's home opener will be Vero Beach resident Bruce Froemming, who will celebrate quite an achievement on April 11 in a game at Arizona. That date will mark 37 years and 11 days on the job for Froemming, moving past Bill Klem to the top of the longevity list for Major League umpires. "It's just unbelievable," said Froemming, 67, who walks daily around the Dodgertown complex with his hunting dog, Blu. Minor Leaguers report: Minor League pitchers and catchers reported to Dodgertown on Thursday. Position players report March 7 with the first full workout March 9. Coming up: The Dodgers' home exhibition opener is Friday against the Nationals, with Jason Schmidt starting in his Los Angeles debut, followed by Mark Hendrickson. Shawn Hill starts for Washington.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.