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DODGERS REPORT

Mueller not sure if he wants the job

June 29, 2007|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

PHOENIX — Four nights in familiar confines did nothing to sway Bill Mueller.

The Dodgers' interim hitting coach continues to weigh the lure of returning to his Scottsdale, Ariz., home to spend time with his family against the chance to help his employer revive a stagnant offense.

"I'm still feeling it out," Mueller said after the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-5, on Thursday at Chase Field.

Mueller, 36, said no revelations came to him while sleeping at home.

"Not really," he said. "If this does turn into something long term, you just make adjustments and you find a way that you can all be together. We'll see how it goes and make that determination when the time comes."

The Dodgers have displayed a bit more pop in their bats since Mueller replaced the fired Eddie Murray two weeks ago, but part of that could be attributable to the recent addition of hot-hitting rookie James Loney and outfielder Matt Kemp.

The Dodgers are hitting .295 and averaging 4.7 runs under Mueller, an improvement over the numbers they posted (.261 average, 4.4 runs) this season under Murray.

One recent sticking point has been wasted opportunities. The Dodgers stranded 40 baserunners during the four-game series against the Diamondbacks and hit .250 (13 for 52) with runners in scoring position.

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Nomar Garciaparra hasn't looked nearly as uncomfortable at third base as he has at the plate since switching positions this week.

The converted first baseman is hitless in his last 15 at-bats and struck out with runners on first and second and nobody out in the eighth inning Wednesday night.

"There's no results," said Garciaparra, whose .266 batting average is the lowest it has been since April 13.

Garciaparra, who was given Thursday off while Tony Abreu started at third, said there was nothing he could pinpoint as far as his offensive struggles.

"If I had it, then I'd fix it," he said. "You just keep working through it."

Garciaparra has recorded two force outs at third in two games at his new position but still hasn't had a ball hit his way.

"Which is great," he said. "Let's keep it that way."

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A Dodgers starting pitcher recorded a hit in each game against the Diamondbacks. "I really didn't like my chances going into [Thursday], so it's good to get lucky," said Randy Wolf, who hit an infield single in the second inning off Randy Johnson.... Reliever Chin-hui Tsao began his rehabilitation assignment by pitching one inning Wednesday night for triple-A Las Vegas and could rejoin the Dodgers in a few days. Tsao, who went on the disabled list May 20 because of a strained right shoulder, gave up two hits and one run. He struck out two and threw 17 pitches.... The Dodgers announced that they will become the first sports franchise to surpass a cumulative attendance of more than 175 million during their game Tuesday against Atlanta at Dodger Stadium. The figure represents the number of fans who have attended Dodgers games since the National League began tabulating attendance in 1901.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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