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They Can't Find the Passing Lane

September 17, 2003|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

The Dodgers are scoreboard watching in the final days of a National League wild-card race that got tighter Tuesday as Philadelphia routed Florida, 14-0, at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

The Phillies pulled within a half game of the first-place Marlins, helping the Dodgers, who couldn't take advantage.

The Dodgers trail Florida and Philadelphia by only 2 1/2 and two games, respectively, but they acknowledge they're still in a difficult position.

"When you've got two teams to pass, that makes it tough, because you don't know who to root for," catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "Do you root for the Marlins? Do you root for the Phillies?

"The Phillies have nine of 12 at home, but they've still got to play the Braves. They also play the Marlins [five] more times, so there are a lot of scenarios there."

Of course, the Dodgers can't count on everything working out well for them.

"It helps us that they have to play each other and Atlanta as well, but we have to keep doing what we have to do," center fielder Dave Roberts said. "The thing is, if we continue to play the same type of baseball we've been playing, I'll take our chances."

The Dodgers also have seven games remaining against the San Francisco Giants, who are close to clinching the NL West title. The Dodgers, however, aren't expecting any help from the Giants, who are battling the Braves for the league's best record and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

"The Braves haven't been playing as good as they were earlier in the year, so the Giants have a shot. They're going to play those games hard against us," Lo Duca said. "Not that they wouldn't before, but they're still shooting for something. It makes a little bit of a difference."


Although Shawn Green said his damaged right shoulder continued to respond well to a Sept. 3 cortisone injection, the right fielder still plans to undergo surgery after the season.

"It's still the same injury and I want to get it corrected," said Green, who has taken anti-inflammatory medication since the spring in an effort to remain in the lineup.

"I've done all the rehab work all year. I know it's not something that's going to just improve from that."

Green said he does not plan to have another cortisone injection. Team physician Frank Jobe said taking more than three injections is risky because cortisone softens the tissue, making surgery more difficult.


Andy Ashby hopes to return in 2005 after having reconstructive surgery on his pitching elbow at the end of the month or in early October.

Jobe plans to perform the procedure he pioneered, and Ashby might be sidelined up to 15 months while rehabilitating. Ashby hopes to make a comeback at 38.

"To take a year off and try to come back when I'm 38 years old ... it's tough," said Ashby, in the final year of a three-year, $22.5-million contract.

"On the other hand, I don't want to be sitting at home and saying, 'I wonder what would have happened if I had the surgery?' "

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