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DODGERS FYI

Dodgers' Jon Garland still getting used to new team

He doesn't know how he will be received by Chase Field fans.

September 09, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

PHOENIX — These are hectic days for Jon Garland.

The newest addition to the Dodgers' rotation was back in the Phoenix-area condominium he used to share with his girlfriend Tuesday to pack his belongings. He'll be back to box the last of them this morning, then head to the ballpark that was his home field as of two weeks ago to face his former team.

Only nine days after his trade from the Diamondbacks to the Dodgers, Garland said he doesn't know how he'll be received today at Chase Field.

"I can't say that I went out and pitched great for the team at home," he said. "I was a lot better pitcher on the road."

Pitching for Arizona, he was 4-5 with a 5.35 earned-run average at home.

Garland has already faced the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium, retiring the last 14 batters in a two-run, seven-inning effort.

Garland started that series last week in the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium and was in the Diamondbacks' pitchers meeting. To his surprise, none of his new teammates asked him how the Diamondbacks planned to pitch them.

"That was the first thing I thought when I walked into the clubhouse, that guys would come over and ask me how they would pitch to them," he said.

Garland has kept a quiet profile in the Dodgers' clubhouse so far.

"I'm definitely still trying to get to know the guys," he said. "This is their clubhouse, this is their locker room. For me, coming in, I just want to stay out of the way."

Torre: Ramirez isn't done

Manager Joe Torre said he thinks Manny Ramirez still can be the kind of offensive force who can carry a team.

"I keep talking about how important he is, but I try to whisper it around him," Torre said. "He's certainly aware of that, he knows he is. That's probably part of his angst right now."

Torre said he isn't entertaining any ideas that age or possible pharmacological changes could be the reason behind the 37-year-old Ramirez's offensive recent decline.

"I think if I see him doing things he's always done and not getting to the ball, I'd start thinking that way," Torre said. "But right now, his front side is flying a lot. If he's together mechanically and he can't get there, we can start talking about that. He's still able to get to pitches. He can still drive the ball to center field, so he's not cheating to the point he has to pull the ball."

Ramirez is batting .190 in September.

Injury updates

Casey Blake sat out his fourth consecutive game but said his strained left hamstring was improving.

Jim Thome continued to be bothered by a sore heel and Torre said it was unlikely he would be able to pinch-hit.

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who has a bruised right shoulder, threw on flat ground to keep his arm loose.

Short hops

Entering Tuesday, the Dodgers had hit 20 home runs in their last 14 games, tied with Colorado for the most in the National League over that span. . . . One of the Dodgers' three U.S.-based minor league affiliates to reach the playoffs, triple-A Albuquerque, will open a best-of-five series against Memphis today. Class-A Great Lakes and rookie league Ogden also made the postseason in their leagues.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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