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Russell Martin not concerned by lack of power

DODGERS FYI

Dodgers catcher has yet to hit a home run this season, but he says he's not thinking about it.

May 24, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

More than seven weeks of the regular season had been played, but Russell Martin went into Saturday without a home run to his name.

Has Martin lost his power?

He said he doesn't think so.

"I hit five in spring training," he said.

The All-Star catcher denied being worried.

"I'm not really a home run hitter," he said.

Martin hit 13 home runs last season but had 19 in 2007, the most among National League catchers.

Of greater concern to Manager Joe Torre has been Martin's tendency to try to pull the ball. Martin struck out twice on Friday night with men on third base, and Torre said that it looked as if his catcher was trying to pull the ball both times.

"Staying in the middle of the field will let you react to more pitches," Torre said.

Martin was two for 16 through the first four games of this six-game homestand.

That being said, he was batting .339 in May through Friday, far better than the .205 he batted in April. Martin went into Saturday's game with a season average of .263.

"I've shortened up a little bit," Martin said. "But the main thing was that I started recognizing pitches better."

Saturday, Martin used the middle of the field -- and saw immediate results.

He drove in the Dodgers' first run of the game in the second inning with a double to left-center and singled in another run in the fifth with a single to center.

Kuroda encouraged

Hiroki Kuroda said he felt encouraged by the way he felt in his first minor league rehabilitation start and is scheduled to pitch for Class-A Inland Empire again on Wednesday.

"I've been out for some time, but it didn't feel that way once I stepped on the mound," said Kuroda, who gave up an unearned run over 3 2/3 innings Friday night in Bakersfield.

Kuroda has been sidelined for six weeks with a strained side muscle but said he doesn't see why he shouldn't be able to pitch in the majors by early next month, as Torre expects him to be able to.

Close call

Jason Schmidt was hit in the head by a line drive in a rehabilitation start for triple-A Albuquerque.

Schmidt, who was hit in the head by a ball hit by Salt Lake City's Freddy Sandoval, was taken out of the game but was able to walk off the field on his own strength.

Belisario hazed . . . again

Bullpen prankster Will Ohman struck again.

The veteran left-hander took Ronald Belisario's sandals, stuck them in a water-filled tray, froze them and left the tray in front of the rookie reliever's locker.

"Ohman," a smiling Belisario said, shaking his head.

The good-natured Belisario was subjected to another form of rookie hazing earlier this season, when he was forced to wear a pink backpack with butterfly wings on his walk out to the bullpen.

Mannywood out,

Bleacher Beach in

Grilled chicken, tiki huts, lifeguard towers, cooling spray misters and a disc jockey will be used to sell what are arguably some of the worst seats in Dodger Stadium.

Starting today, the Dodgers will call sections 55 and 59 of the reserved level "Bleacher Beach" for their remaining Sunday day games and charge fans $50 to sit there -- or $45, if they purchase tickets in advance. The sections are two levels above the seats that were once known as Mannywood.

Included in the price of a ticket is an all-you-can-eat buffet that includes hamburgers, chicken, Dodger Dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts and watermelon slices.

--

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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