The Dodgers use their bats to beat the Mets
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Port Saint Lucie the Los Angeles Dodgers overcame a seven-run deficit to beat the New York Mets twelve to eight in ten innings. Not many well-known Dodgers made the thirty-mile trip, so it allowed Jim Tracy and the viewers in Los Angeles to see the youngsters hoping for a chance to play.
The emphasis of this spring for the Dodgers is fundamental baseball. The players are practicing fielding, base running, situational hitting, and bunting daily. It was evident today. Though the Dodgers botched a run-down play in the later innings when less experienced players played, their defense looked improved from 2000 when they led the National League in errors. It seemed more Dodgers bunted today than in the first month of the 2000 season. If the Dodgers had not played fundamentally sound baseball, they probably would not have won.
Though Andy Ashby did not have a good debut as a Dodger allowing six runs in two innings, Ramon Martinez and Luke Prokopec pitched impressively. Though Martinez allowed a solo home run and hit a player in two innings, his pitches had velocity and movement. Martinez pitched as if he was the Dodger ace of 1995. As Kevin Brown has, Martinez had confidence oozing from him while on the mound. Prokopec followed Martinez and pitched two scoreless innings. Evidently Prokopec has been watching the better pitchers in Dodgertown because he is developing a winning demeanor.
Twelve runs might be a rarity for the Dodgers this season. When Gary Sheffield has demanded a trade, their projected opening day lineup does not have a .300 hitter. Yesterday Shawn Green sprained his thumb sliding into second base. Though the Dodgers list Green as day-to-day, Green has brace on the thumb and sprained thumbs usually take a month to heal. Opening day is a month away, but without much practice Green will not do his job as well. Eric Karros appears to be the only experienced power hitter in the opening day lineup unless Greenís thumb heals quickly.
Today Adrian Beltre participated in outdoor workouts for the first time this spring, but it is more than probable Beltre will start the season on the disabled list . Dave Hansen figured to play in Beltreís absence until he broke his middle finger yesterday. Hansen will be out four to six weeks.