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The Fundamental Things Still Apply

Dodger pitchers say it was a coincidence, but more than four hours before Wednesday night’s series opener against the San Diego Padres the majority of the staff was fielding bunts and ground balls from Dodger coaches and throwing to various bases in a drill that is a staple of spring training.

The Dodgers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals the day before in a game that featured an errant throw to third base by right-hander Hideo Nomo on a bunt. It was a two-run error that triggered a three-run inning and an eventual 9-2 defeat.

Afterward, Manager Jim Tracy implored his team to execute the fundamentals as they had during the first half.

Wednesday’s bunt-fielding session, however, apparently was not a result of that meeting. Coach Jim Riggleman said it was arranged informally after reliever Terry Mulholland asked if he could get some extra work.

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“The last few weeks, when I’ve fielded ground balls, my throws have been high or wide so I just wanted to get back to feeling comfortable out there,” said Mulholland, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings Tuesday and 2 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday. “When Darren [Dreifort] heard I was going to get some early work, he asked if he could join in.

“I told Nomo he could come if he wanted to and the rest of the guys who were here early decided to get into it too. It wasn’t mandatory or anything. It was just good to see everyone working hard to stay sharp.”

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Dreifort is scheduled to pitch another simulated game on Friday as he continues his comeback from elbow surgery.

Dreifort, who threw 34 pitches over two simulated innings Monday, will increase his pitch count, but Tracy said the number had not yet been established.

Tracy also said that Dreifort’s role when he returns has not been determined. The Dodgers, however, will increase his pitch counts during simulated games and a rehabilitation assignment as if he was a starter.

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James Loney, the Dodgers’ first-round pick in the June draft, is batting .367 with four homers and 22 runs batted in through 27 games for Great Falls in the Pioneer Rookie League.

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Loney, a first baseman, signed for $1.5 million.

Greg Miller, a supplemental first-round pick who signed for about $1.2 million, had a 1.29 earned-run average in seven innings over three appearances for Great Falls before his second start Wednesday night against Ogden.

TONIGHT

DODGERS’

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ANDY ASHBY

(7-7, 3.68 ERA)

vs.

PADRES’

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BRETT TOMKO

(4-6, 3.68 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 7

TV--Fox Sports Net 2. Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).

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Update--Ashby gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 7-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. He lost to the Padres, 5-0, on April 21 when Tomko pitched one of the best games of his career, giving up two hits and striking out 13 in seven innings.

Tickets--(323) 224-1448.


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