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Tracy Looking to Nomo

September 07, 2004|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS — Hideo Nomo, playoff starter?

It seemed unlikely Nomo would be part of the Dodger postseason rotation after he was 3-10 with an 8.06 earned-run average in his first 14 starts and then was put on the disabled list July 1 because of rotator cuff inflammation.

But things could change, especially considering the state of the Dodger rotation.

"I tend to think with him that the impossible is possible," pitching coach Jim Colborn said. "That's why we kept believing in him earlier in the year when he was trying to compete on about three of his six cylinders."

Nomo impressed Manager Jim Tracy and Colborn with a surprising six-inning performance in his return to the mound Wednesday in a 3-1 loss to Arizona. The right-hander's fastball was consistently clocked between 88 and 91 mph, which is the key to the effectiveness of his split-finger pitch.

"You cut him the slack of an adjustment game," Colborn said, "and let's see what happens next time out."

Nomo (3-11, 7.77 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight in the opener of a three-game series at Arizona. The Dodgers said they're taking a wait-and-see approach with Nomo.

However, Brad Penny is still sidelined because of a nerve problem in his pitching arm, Wilson Alvarez has a 43.82 earned-run average in his last two starts and Kazuhisa Ishii, despite his team-leading 13 victories, still stirs concern because of his erratic performance.

Barring injury, right-handers Jeff Weaver and Jose Lima and left-hander Odalis Perez are expected to start for the Dodgers if they make the playoffs. Nomo, 36, would be a candidate for a spot if Tracy and Colborn employ a four-man rotation.

"He started opening day for us in 2003, he was our No. 1 pitcher through that season and he was our No. 1 pitcher the second half of 2002," Colborn said. "He opened 2004, and nothing has changed except that he wasn't ready in the first part of the year.

"I'm just happy he's back. It appears that his stuff is back, and he's a major cog in this championship wheel."



Opponent -- Arizona Diamondbacks, three games.

Site -- Dodger Stadium.

TV -- FSN2 all three games.

Radio -- KFWB (980), KWKW (1330).

Records -- Dodgers 78-58, Diamondbacks 42-95.

Record vs. Diamondbacks -- 13-3.

Tonight, 7 -- Hideo Nomo (3-11, 7.77 ERA) vs. Brandon Webb (6-14, 3.55).

Wednesday, 7 p.m. -- Odalis Perez (6-4, 3.16) vs. Casey Fossum (4-12, 6.87).

Thursday, 7 p.m. -- Jose Lima (11-5, 4.11) vs. Edgar Gonzalez (0-8, 9.64).

Tickets -- (323) 224-1448.

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