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DODGERS FYI

Dodgers will face plenty of strong pitching on the road

July 27, 2009|Kevin Baxter

The Dodgers open a seven-game trip tonight in St. Louis before heading to Atlanta. And Manager Joe Torre said the two series figure to provide a good challenge for his team.

"You have to pretty much measure yourself, as the season goes on, against different types of teams just in the event that you do get to the postseason and do you run into these teams," he said. "It's still a matter of being able to sort of measure up. The matchups are sometimes uncomfortable."

Tonight's matchup could be particularly uncomfortable since the Cardinals will be starting the type of dominating ace the Dodgers will have to beat to win a short playoff series. Plus Chris Carpenter, who is 3-0 with a 1.86 earned-run average in July, has never lost to the Dodgers in five career starts.

And he's just the first of three pitchers with at least eight wins and an ERA under 2.96 the Dodgers will face.

"We're going to face good pitching on this trip," Torre said. "If we have hopes of going to the postseason, that's what we're going to have to deal with."

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Trade winds

Although the Dodgers continue to evaluate several possibilities, the team is not optimistic it can land Toronto's Roy Halladay, the most sought-after pitcher on the midseason trade market. And a rumored deal that would have brought left-hander Cliff Lee to the Dodgers for a package with James Loney as the centerpiece has "less than zero" truth to it, according to a team executive.

"I think we have the same desire. To try to make this team better," Torre said. "We know what we'd like to add. But what's the price tag? Is it going to spring a leak somewhere else? That's the evaluation that we all have to make."

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Medical report

Torre said Manny Ramirez's left hand, bruised when he was hit by a pitch Tuesday, is still sore so he gave the slugger the day off Sunday. Ramirez has been wearing a hard-molded composite shield over the batting glove on his left hand to protect the area.

Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo accompanied the team to St. Louis and is expected to be activated from the disabled list today. The Dodgers optioned infielder Blake DeWitt to triple-A Albuquerque to clear a roster spot for Kuo, who has been out since April 30 because of a strained elbow.

Cory Wade, who has made two trips to the DL because of shoulder strains, could also be back soon. He's scheduled to make a rehab appearance today with Albuquerque.

Ronald Belisario continues to throw on flat ground and hopes to make a rehab appearance shortly.

Belisario has been sidelined since July 6 because of a strained elbow.

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Purpose pitches

Eight players were hit by pitches in the three-game series with Florida, including five Marlins. So when Dodger Jeff Weaver plunked Hanley Ramirez in the sixth inning of a game the Marlins led, 8-0, Manager Fredi Gonzalez took umbrage.

"We play the game the right way," Gonzalez said. "We've got an eight-run lead and the whole thing but we're not stealing bases or hit and running. We're playing the game the right way. For [Weaver] to do that, it puts everybody in a situation where it's not good baseball."

An inning later Gonzalez and reliever Burke Badenhop were ejected after Badenhop drilled Orlando Hudson in the hip with a fastball -- an apparent retaliatory strike that earned Badenhop enthusiastic high-fives in the dugout.

No one on the Dodgers side would discuss the incident on the record, although one pitcher strongly hinted that Weaver's actions were meant more to even the score after Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin were hit by the Marlins on Friday.

"I'd rather not comment," Torre said.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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