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Sunday, April 11, 2010
Dodgers go with 'day-game lineup'

By Tony Jackson
ESPNLosAngeles.com

MIAMI -- The Los Angeles Dodgers went with their "day-game lineup'' on Sunday against Florida, resting catcher Russell Martin, third baseman Casey Blake, left fielder Manny Ramirez and still-injured right fielder Andre Ethier.

Manager Joe Torre on Sunday reiterated his plan to rest several regulars whenever the Dodgers play a day game after a night game this year, a concession to the need to keep his veterans fresh and a nod to his team's deep bench.

A.J. Ellis, who was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque when backup catcher Brad Ausmus went on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, was in the lineup behind the plate. Ronnie Belliard started at third, with Garret Anderson in left and Reed Johnson in right.

Kuo throws first session

Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo threw a full side session on Sunday morning, the first time he has done so since being placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow soreness. Torre said Kuo probably will need to make at least one minor-league rehab appearance before being activated. That could happen sometime on the Dodgers' upcoming homestand.

Looking for more from starters

Through their first five games of the season, Dodgers starters went five innings just twice. But Torre said that issue will have to take care of itself.

Torre said the lack of quality starts speaks to a bigger problem throughout the game, not just with his team.

"A big part of it is a lot of pitchers not wanting to pitch to contact,'' Torre said. "So you end up in 1-0, 2-0, 2-2 conts all the time, and all of a sudden, you look up and it's [a high pitch count]. ... I describe it as staying away from contact, but the pitchers describe it as trying to make good pitches. And if you give yourself very little room for error, you're relying on the umpire to see what you see. And if a pitch is close -- and I'm not criticizing the umpires when I say this -- he has one shot at it.''

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.