Tomko is sailing along without incident, even though he has walked a couple of batters. He pitched around a potentially disastrous two-base error by Kemp in the first inning, and Kemp redeemed himself in the bottom of the first with a first-pithc homer to straightaway center, his seventh of the season. … Dodgers 1, Astros 0, top 4
By Tony Jackson
Dodgers third baseman Nomar Garciaparra went onto the 15-day disabled list Tuesday when it became clear the strained left calf he had tried to play through for more than a week wasn’t going to get any better without rest.
Shea Hillenbrand, whose contract the Dodgers had purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday, will get most of the playing time at third base in Garciaparra’s absence. Reliever Eric Hull was recalled from Las Vegas to take Garciaparra’s roster spot, giving the Dodgers a 12-man pitching staff.
The injury is believed to have happened in the fifth inning on Aug. 4, when Garciaparra ran first to third on a long fly ball by Ramon Martinez that was dropped by Arizona right fielder Justin Upton. Garciaparra hesitated to make sure the ball wasn’t caught, and that was when he felt something in the calf.
“It was kind of in an isolated spot and wasn’t that bad,” Garciaparra said. “I continued to feel it on certain movements, but it wasn’t consistent. But it just kept getting worse, and this past weekend, I could feel it on more of a consistent basis. I took a day off on Sunday, hoping that would calm it down. But I still felt it (Monday) night at the end of the game.”
Pitching plans: Little all but announced that lefty Eric Stults will be recalled from Las Vegas to take the rotation spot that used to belong to Mark Hendrickson on Friday night against Colorado. When someone asked if there were other options besides Stults, Little simply said, “Not many.” Although Little didn’t say it, Hull likely will go back down to clear a roster spot for Stults.
Lineup (re)shuffle: Less than a week after Juan Pierre was dropped to seventh in the order, he was moved back to second. Catcher Russell Martin, who entered the game with two hits in his past 16 at-bats, was dropped from second to sixth.
In five games since the change — including one in which he batted second because Martin didn’t play — Pierre was 7 for 17. He went 3 for 4 in Monday night’s loss to Houston, when the Dodgers had a total of six hits.
“We have to find some combination where we can start driving in a few more runs than our current pace,” Little said.
Little said he also plans to find more playing time in the coming days for outfielder Matt Kemp, who entered the day hitting .311.
Also: Negotiations with fifth-round draft pick Kyle Blair, a right-hander who has signed a letter of intent to pitch for the University of San Diego, are expected to last well into the day. The deadline for signing 2007 draft choices is 9 p.m. tonight. Blair is believed to be seeking a bonus of $1.1 million. …
Pierre hung an old photo on the front of his locker on Tuesday of himself and Bill Robinson, wearing Florida Marlins road uniform pants and champagne-soaked championship T-shirts, immediately after the Marlins won the 2003 World Series. Robinson, then the Marlins hitting coach, died two weeks ago of an apparent heart attack during a stop in Las Vegas as the Dodgers’ minor-league hitting coordinator.