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DODGERS FYI

Orlando Hudson's hitting streak ends at 11 games

Second baseman is enjoying a strong April, but says he doesn't want to talk about statistics, just about the team winning.

April 27, 2009|Jim Peltz

DENVER — When Orlando Hudson hit for the cycle in the Dodgers' home opener April 13, it was just a prelude to the hot April the second baseman would enjoy.

Hudson, obtained by the Dodgers in the off-season mainly for his Gold Glove skills, is the team's hottest hitter despite going 0 for 4 in the Dodgers' loss to the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

The native of Darlington, S.C., now in his eighth major league season, was riding a career-high 11-game hitting streak until Sunday.

With a .351 average, he's still the leading hitter among the team's regular starters. He has five doubles, two triples and two home runs.

Hudson had hit safely in 11 consecutive games three times before, most recently in July 2006, when he played for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But the normally talkative Hudson, 31, didn't want to discuss his statistics.

"I'm not talking about numbers, I'm not talking about that," he said before the game. "We're doing great as a team, that's it."

Hudson, a switch-hitter who usually bats second behind Rafael Furcal, certainly benefits from hitting in front of slugger Manny Ramirez.

And if Furcal and Hudson "get on base, they've got to pitch to [Manny]," Manager Joe Torre said.

That trio had combined to score at least one run in the first inning of three consecutive games prior to Sunday, giving their starting pitchers an instant cushion.

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Hitting order

The Dodgers generally have used the same lineup so far this year, in this order: Furcal, Hudson, Ramirez, Andre Ethier, James Loney, Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, Casey Blake and the pitcher's spot.

With the Dodgers leading the National League West, would there be any reason to change the lineup?

"It's comfortable for me right now," Torre said. "There are games when Russell won't play when you'll rearrange it, [but] it's working now so you don't mess with it."

Indeed, Torre juggled the lineup Sunday because Ramirez, Furcal and Blake didn't start.

Generally, though, the lineup is set and that includes the left-handed Ethier, who is batting .314 and has a team-high 20 runs batted in, in the cleanup spot.

"Ethier, once he's gotten used to the spot he's hitting in, he's pretty good," Torre said. "He's handled left-handers really well, and I have no problem leaving him back there."

Even so, Torre said "we're liable to change it" during the long season. He added that the catalyst might "not necessarily be the team losing but guys struggling. Then I may flip it around a little bit."

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Short hops

Saturday's game was the first time Ramirez was 0 for 5 since Aug. 8 . . . . Martin's eighth-inning double Sunday ended a string of seven games without an extra-base hit.

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james.peltz@latimes.com

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