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National League | DODGER REPORT

Ashby Gives Bullpen a Break

April 07, 2002|Gary Klein

Less than 24 hours after pitching seven shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies, Dodger pitcher Andy Ashby said Saturday that his surgically repaired right elbow felt good.

"There's a little bit of soreness, but that's about all," said Ashby, who earned the Dodgers' first victory of the season Friday night in his first appearance since last April 12.

Ashby gave up one hit and struck out five in a performance Dodger Manager Jim Tracy said preserved a bullpen that was stretched after three losses to the San Francisco Giants.

"If we had gotten into our bullpen early last night, that could have been a somewhat devastating situation for us at this early juncture of the season," Tracy said before Saturday's game. "He made a very strong statement for himself. He picked our team up and he picked the bullpen up."

Ashby credited pitchers Darren Dreifort and Kevin Brown, among others, for helping him in his return to the mound. Dreifort is recovering from his second elbow surgery and Brown also had elbow surgery last season.

"They have been through the same things," Ashby said. "Last year, we would put our heads together and watch games and talk a lot. As we started to work out, we could ask each other, 'Does it feel like this in the back of your arm? Is this how it felt when you did that?'"

Dreifort, who said he has no specific timetable for his return, was inspired by Ashby's outing.

"Somewhere along the line, we all run into the same problems--the stiffness, the achiness, control, velocity," Dreifort said. "So it was good to see him go out and do what he did."

*

Tracy used the same lineup the first four games of the season, the first time a Dodger manager enjoyed that much consistency since July 20-23, 1998.

But on Saturday night, Tracy switched Adrian Beltre and Eric Karros in the lineup. Karros, who went three for four with a home run Friday night against the Rockies, was moved from seventh to sixth. Tracy said the switch was not necessarily a reward for Karros but "what's best for the club day to day."

"[Karros] came out of spring training not exactly having set the world on fire," Tracy said. "Right now, with the guy swinging the bat the way he has and the opportunities we've been getting in the six hole, I decided to make the move."

Last season, Tracy used 114 starting lineups and never used the same lineup more than three games in a row.

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TODAY

DODGERS'

KEVIN BROWN

(0-1, 15.75)

vs.

ROCKIES'

MIKE HAMPTON

(0-1, 14.73)

Dodger Stadium, 1:10 p.m

Radio--KXTA (1150), KWW (1330).

Update--Brown will try to rebound from his rocky start on opening day, when he gave up seven runs and nine hits to San Francisco in four innings. Hampton is also coming off a rough outing--six runs and nine hits in a 10-2 loss to St. Louis.

Tickets--(323) 224-1448.

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Gary Klein

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