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After Four Hits, Choi Takes a Seat

Times Staff Writer

A career-high four hits Tuesday night were not enough to propel Hee-Seop Choi into the starting lineup against Arizona left-hander Brad Halsey on Wednesday.

Dodger Manager Jim Tracy said he wanted Olmedo Saenz to make his fifth start at first base because he was hitting .385 against left-handers and needed at-bats to stay sharp.

That decision was fine with Choi, who said he was ready to start against left-handers but realized that the bulk of his opportunities would come against right-handers.

“If I hit good and we win, I’m happy,” said Choi, who has one hit in four at-bats this season against left-handers. “It’s about teamwork. I don’t think about playing against left-handed pitchers.”

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Choi’s four-for-five night Tuesday raised his batting average to a season-high .260, 93 points higher than it was April 20. Choi also has two home runs in 16 games, two more than he hit in 31 games with the Dodgers last season.

“When the season started, I was trying to hit the ball hard, hit home runs,” Choi said. “Now I just try for a good swing. I try to get a good pitch and put a good swing. I don’t think about hitting home runs.”

Tracy indicated that Choi would be back in the lineup Friday against Colorado right-hander Shawn Chacon.

“It’s very prudent to stay on that path rather than go backward and try to go forward again on Friday,” Tracy said. “You just try to continue to find very favorable situations for him.”

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Tracy declined to discuss the possibility of removing Scott Erickson from the rotation, even though the veteran right-hander has averaged five innings and posted a 7.20 earned-run average in his first four starts.

“He’s going to pitch here when his time comes back up again,” Tracy said, noting that Erickson would start May 2 against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium.

Tracy indicated that he was pleased with Erickson’s outing Tuesday against Arizona with the exception of the two home runs he gave up.

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Eric Gagne, recovering from a sprained elbow, threw about 40 pitches on flat ground from 100 feet. He is scheduled to throw 30 fastballs in the bullpen Friday before throwing 30 to 35 fastballs and changeups Saturday. Barring a setback, Gagne would throw all his pitches Monday. Tracy said Gagne probably would face Dodger hitters before determining whether he would require a rehabilitation assignment.... The Dodgers did not win World Series titles in 1962 and 1966, contrary to what was printed on the giveaway fleece blankets that were distributed before Wednesday’s game. The Dodgers attributed the mistake to a production error and provided fans with vouchers that they could mail to receive blankets with the correct information.


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