Friday, May 21, 2010
Torre finally gets to rest Martin
By Tony Jackson
LOS ANGELES -- Russell Martin's career-long, 15-game hitting streak will be alive and well when the Dodgers and Detroit Tigers start their game Friday night at Dodger Stadium. But his consecutive games-started streak will not.
Martin, who had started each of the Dodgers' previous 21 games behind the plate, finally got a break. And this time, he didn't even try to talk his way back into the lineup.
"We talked before the game [Thursday] night," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "He was a little tired. I think he was ready for a little [rest]."
Torre had intended to rest Martin several times during the streak, but each time, Martin had pleaded his case to play and Torre had relented. Torre said he went ahead and played Martin on Thursday against San Diego because he wanted him matched up with left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who started against the Padres.
Martin is available to pinch hit and is expected to return to the lineup Saturday against the Tigers.
Martin was one of three regulars who were given the night off. First baseman James Loney and second baseman Blake DeWitt, both left-handed hitters, sat against Detroit left-hander Dontrelle Willis. They were replaced by Ronnie Belliard and Nick Green, respectively.
Carroll hit in the leadoff spot for only the second time this season. Martin had become the Dodgers' primary leadoff man with Rafael Furcal on the disabled list, but Furcal is expected to be activated and return to the top spot in the order by Tuesday.
The Dodgers, who historically have struggled in interleague play, have 15 such games on their schedule this season against four clubs, including six against the Angels. Besides the Tigers, the Dodgers will play three at Boston on June 18-20 and three at home against the World Series champion New York Yankees on June 25-27.
With the exception of the Tigers, who led the American League Central for almost the entire season before fading at the end and losing a one-game playoff to Minnesota, all of those teams made the playoffs in 2009. It isn't exactly a recipe for the Dodgers to dramatically improve on their 99-110 all-time interleague record, or to post their first winning record in interleague play since they went a middling 10-8 in 2004.
"It's an uneven playing field, but there isn't much you can do about it," Torre said. "It would be really tough to try to make it equal when they make the schedule because sometimes you don't even know who the good teams are going to be."
Pitcher Towers released
The Dodgers have released veteran right-hander Josh Towers, who came close to making the club out of spring training but then got knocked around in his eight starts for Triple-A Albuquerque. Towers went 2-5 with an 8.05 ERA, and he gave up 62 hits and nine home runs in only 38 innings.
Towers will be replaced in the Isotopes' rotation by another former big leaguer in Seth Etherton, who except for an April 24 spot start against Omaha had spent the season in extended spring training. Etherton will join a rotation that includes prospects James McDonald, Scott Elbert and Josh Lindblom and journeyman right-hander Tim Corcoran.
McDonald, Elbert and Lindblom all have ERAs well above five, and Torre said earlier this week that none of the three is close to being ready to help the major league club.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.