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Randy Wolf says he feels pain-free after bullpen session

The Dodgers' left-hander, who missed a start because of a hyper-extended elbow, says he even felt good while throwing a curveball today. Also, Clayton Kershaw takes a step forward in his recovery.

September 14, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

SAN FRANCISCO — Five and a half months into the season, Russell Martin said he thinks he finally might be emerging from his yearlong slump.

"I'm feeling as good as I've felt all year," Martin said.

Martin's two-run home run in the seventh inning Sunday had almost no effect on the Dodgers' 7-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park, but it had some meaning to him.

Martin went into San Francisco with only four home runs. He left with six, having hit two in the last two games of the three-game series.

He was four for 11 in the series with three walks and seven runs batted in.

"I feel like I'm swinging at what I want to swing at," he said. "I'm not swinging at what the pitchers want me to swing at. I find myself getting into good counts."

Martin is batting .258 this season.

But with as many steps back as Martin has taken this season, Manager Joe Torre was careful to say, "Knock wood," to preface his comments about how his catcher's improved form over the last few days was a reflection of his increased patience.

"If he didn't get instant gratification he was going to try something else," Torre said. "But he is staying with this approach now that really suits the way he hits."

Loney knocked down but not out

Reacting to a ball that was hit hard down the first-base line by Nate Schierholtz in the fourth inning, James Loney ran head-first into first base umpire Sam Holbrook and spent enough time on his back to briefly delay the game.

"I felt my neck kind of pop," Loney said. "Kind of like a readjustment from a chiropractor. I felt like a pain down my neck and my back."

The impact caused Loney's flip-up sunglasses to be smashed into his face.

Wolf is on track to start Tuesday

Randy Wolf had what he described as a pain-free bullpen session, making him likely to start Tuesday.

"I let it go today," said Wolf, who missed his scheduled start Friday because of a hyperextended elbow.

Wolf said the only pitch he had trouble throwing in a problematic bullpen session in Arizona last week was his curveball, but that it didn't present any problems for him Sunday.

The Dodgers still don't have a timetable for Clayton Kershaw's return, but the 21-year-old continued to report improvement on his separated non-throwing shoulder. Playing long toss and throwing off a mound Sunday morning, Kershaw was able to catch a ball for the first time since sustaining the injury.

DeWitt and Hu called up

The Dodgers made what will probably be the last of their September call-ups, promoting infielders Blake DeWitt and Chin-lung Hu from triple-A Albuquerque.

This marks the sixth stint of the season in the majors for DeWitt, who made the Dodgers' opening-day roster but was sent to the minors to get regular playing time.

"Hopefully, I can stay up here the rest of the year," said DeWitt, who spent most of last year in the majors.

DeWitt batted .256 with seven home runs and 47 runs batted in in 92 games with Albuquerque.

DeWitt said his goal for next year would be to make the team out of spring training and remain in the majors the entire season. To prepare himself for that, DeWitt said he would play winter ball in the Dominican Republic this off-season.


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