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Change of plans as Furcal sits it out

Times Staff Writer

So much for that idea.

Manager Grady Little’s new plan to have Juan Pierre hit leadoff and Rafael Furcal hit second against right-handed starters had to be put on hold for at least a day after Furcal was scratched from the lineup Saturday afternoon because of irritation in his right knee.

Furcal said he initially felt the discomfort Friday night in the same knee that required arthroscopic surgery in January 2006, but the Dodgers shortstop hoped to return today. Ramon Martinez replaced Furcal at shortstop Saturday during the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium and second baseman Tony Abreu hit second in the lineup.

Little said Furcal would top his batting order against left-handers “for a little bit and see how it works out.” Furcal is hitting .333 against left-handers as opposed to .295 against right-handers.

After picking up two more hits Saturday to notch his 19th multi-hit game of the season, Pierre is hitting .295 against right-handers and .231 against left-handers.

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It didn’t seem especially important amid a seven-run bullpen collapse, but reliever Jonathan Broxton’s pickoff of Derrek Lee for the second out in the seventh inning Friday helped the Dodgers escape a particularly nasty scrape -- eventually -- en route to their come-from-behind, 9-8 victory.

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“That was a big play,” Little said. “They could still be hitting in the top of the seventh at 11 o’clock the next morning” had Broxton not picked off Lee at second base after getting a signal from the dugout. “I don’t know who would be pitching. Maybe [first base coach Mariano] Duncan.”

The Dodgers were still shaking their heads a day after giving up eight hits and seven runs -- six earned -- during an unlucky seventh inning that transformed a 5-1 lead into an 8-5 deficit.

“It’s a little easier to forget and get over it since we came back and won the game,” said Joe Beimel, who gave up a leadoff single to Jacque Jones and was pulled after recording the first out on Cesar Izturis’ fly ball to center.

“It was just one of those things where it’s going to happen now and then. We like to keep it to a minimum and not do it too much, but we realize stuff like that’s going to happen. The big thing is just being able to bounce back from it.”

The Dodgers relievers rebounded in fine form Saturday, with Chad Billingsley and Brett Tomko combining for four scoreless innings.

Reliever Yhency Brazoban, who allowed all three runners he faced Friday to reach base, was unavailable Saturday after pitching on three of the previous four days, including one appearance with triple-A Las Vegas.

“Coming back from this injury,” Little said, referring to elbow ligament replacement surgery, “that’s not a practice we want to get into very much.”

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Second baseman Jeff Kent, who had hit five of his team-leading eight homers in his last 11 games, was scheduled to receive the day off before being called upon as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. He struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.... Russell Martin, hitting cleanup for the first time in his career, went hitless in three at-bats with a walk. “I’ll leave it to him,” Martin said of Kent, the Dodgers’ usual cleanup hitter. “He’s got a little bit better career stats in that spot.”

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ben.bolch@latimes.com


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