John Shelby should be credited with an assist on center fielder Milton Bradley's catch Wednesday night that took a home run away from the New York Mets' Mike Cameron.
Shelby, the Dodgers' outfield coach, works with Bradley, left fielder Dave Roberts and right fielder Juan Encarnacion on snaring fly balls that barely clear the eight-foot outfield wall.
"It's kind of a lost art, but it can be done in this ballpark," Shelby said. "To me, that's one of the greatest plays in baseball."
Bradley extended his glove over the wall in straightaway center to deprive Cameron of a solo homer that would have pulled the Mets to within a run. The Dodgers won, 3-2.
"To get as high up on the wall as he did -- that ball was over the fence by an appreciable margin -- and bring it back" was incredible, Dodger Manager Jim Tracy said.
The addition of Bradley, acquired on the eve of the season opener, gives the Dodgers three outfielders who have spent a portion of their careers as center fielders. While that combination provides the Dodgers with exceptional coverage, it does have at least one potential drawback.
"All three of those guys are used to going to get everything that's hit, so they have to communicate out there," Shelby said. "They have to talk to each other and get to know each other's range. It's really not that easy."
Eric Gagne was available Thursday, one night after staying in a game against the Mets despite taking a line drive off his right thigh that resulted in a bruise.
The closer collected himself after the Jason Phillips drive bounced off his leg in the eighth inning Wednesday, chasing down the ball near the first-base line to throw out Phillips and end the inning.
Gagne limped off the field, but Tracy said nothing was said about whether he would pitch the ninth. He retired the first two batters in the ninth before pinch-hitter Vance Wilson and Kazuo Matsui hit singles to threaten Gagne's save streak.
But Gagne induced a pop-up from Cameron to end the game and convert his major league-record 69th consecutive save opportunity dating to August 2002.
Having thrown 36 pitches over the previous two nights, reliever Darren Dreifort was unavailable out of the bullpen Thursday. Jose Lima, scheduled to make his third start of the season Saturday against the Montreal Expos, was also unavailable.
Opponent -- Montreal Expos, three games.
Site -- Dodger Stadium.
TV -- Channel 13 tonight and Sunday, Fox Sports Net 2 Saturday.
Radio -- KFWB (980), KWKW (1330).
Records -- Dodgers 13-8, Expos 5-18.
2003 record vs. Expos -- 4-2.
Tonight, 7 -- Kazuhisa Ishii (3-1, 4.21) vs. Zach Day (2-1, 2.00).
Saturday, 7 p.m. -- Jose Lima (2-1, 6.57) vs. Livan Hernandez (1-2, 3.00).
Sunday, 1 p.m. -- Hideo Nomo (3-2, 6.43) vs. Sun-Woo Kim (0-0, 0.50).