One night after the Cincinnati Reds showed how alarmingly easy it is to run on Yhency Brazoban, Dodger Manager Jim Tracy said he had no plans to remove Brazoban from the closer's role.
"Stuff gets people out in the ninth inning," Tracy said.
Brazoban ranks ninth in the National League with 19 saves, but he has four losses and a 9.95 earned-run average in his last eight appearances. On Wednesday, Ryan Freel followed a leadoff walk from Brazoban by stealing second and third base, then scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly.
Brazoban arrived in the major leagues last July 31, and he has yet to master the slide-step, the widely used move that quickens a pitcher's delivery and thus shortens a runner's lead. Tracy said he would not order Brazoban to use the slide-step with runners on base, alluding to his inexperience and arguing he is better served worrying about the batter than the runner.
"You ask him to go in a completely different direction as to his comfort level," Tracy said. "A guy hits a home run on him on a slide-step, on a slider where he loses two to three mph from a velocity standpoint? That's a dangerous game to play."
Freel stole second in the ninth on a pitchout. Catcher Jason Phillips has thrown out 12 of 82 runners this season, and Tracy would not attribute all the misses to the deliveries of Dodger pitchers.
"We're not pointing the finger solely at Jason Phillips," Tracy said. "Yes, I think there have been opportunities for him to throw guys out."
Nancy Bea Hefley, the Dodger Stadium organist since 1988, said she would return next year. She had intended to retire at season's end, she said, concerned that her role would continue to diminish amid the onslaught of recorded music. But, she said Thursday, owner Frank McCourt persuaded her to stay, promising her a continued role in stadium entertainment and allowing her to miss a few games to join her husband on summer vacations. ... Outfielder Jayson Werth remained unavailable because of a sore left knee. He walked through the clubhouse with a slight limp. ... Infielder Oscar Robles, hitless in his last 23 at-bats, did not start for the second time in three games. ... Antonio Perez had two of the Dodgers' six hits and is batting .438 in 12 starts at second base, his preferred position. Perez also has played shortstop and third base, and the Dodgers have worked him out in left field.