Notes: Thompson impresses in debut

Notes: Thompson impresses in debut

PHOENIX -- Manager Jim Tracy stopped short of a final decision on Sunday, but Derek Thompson apparently earned another start after his impressive Major League debut on Saturday night ended in a bizarre no-decision against Arizona.

"Right now, I have to think Derek Thompson would take another start," said Tracy, who offered a disclaimer in that he would consult with general manager Paul DePodesta when he returns to Los Angeles on Monday before making it official.

"He allowed two hits [one a bunt]. The bases on balls, any time you make your first Major League start, you anticipate dealing with a little of that. He did a good job handling it. He put innings down that had the potential to turn out not too good. He kept the ball in the park and got a double-play ball. Both leadoff walks scored, but he did a nice job."

Thompson apparently did what he set out to do.

"I wanted to do my job well enough to make them keep me up here," Thompson said.

Thompson, promoted from Double-A for the emergency start, acknowledged jitters facing Craig Counsell, who led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk and eventually scored one of the two runs Thompson allowed.

"That leadoff walk was straight nerves," said Thompson. "Once I got past him, I settled down. They [Diamondbacks hitters] knew I would come out a little off. I knew they'd try to get some walks, and I was too fine, instead of just throwing the ball."

Thompson said he was more nervous when he had to bunt in the second inning, and he succeeded.

"All the pitchers know that whatever you do, with Tracy, you better know how to bunt," Thompson said. "And when it was my turn to bat, it's first and second and one out and here we go. I had to get it down."

Thompson showed a fastball that touched 93 mph, an effective curve, a legitimate changeup and a windup different than the one he had in Spring Training. Instead of beginning facing home plate, he now starts his motion facing first base.

"I started that the third start this year because I was getting all out of whack," he said. "I brought it up to [Jacksonville pitching coach Ken] Howell. It eliminates some motion."

Although Thompson was in position to get the win after J.D. Drew's home run, the Dodgers' bullpen coughed up a 4-2 lead. Thompson's memories, nonetheless, will be positive.

"I'll always remember the atmosphere and the speed of the game, [and] the way the defense gets to balls people don't get to at Double-A," Thompson said. "[And] the play [shortstop Cesar] Izturis made [on Royce Clayton] up the middle. We've got a top prospect, Joel Guzman, but he can't get to that ball. The double play they turned like it was nothing. It all makes you not want to go back down."

Thompson is considered a rookie, although he has one full year of Major League service because he was on the Major League disabled list the entire 2003 season after elbow surgery.

Injury update: Odalis Perez will throw another bullpen session on Monday, but Tracy said there's almost no chance Perez will be ready to pitch by Saturday, which would be the next undecided situation if Thompson starts on Thursday.

Lineup changes: Jeff Kent was given the day off on Sunday, only his second of the season. Antonio Perez moved to second base, Olmedo Saenz started at third base and batted cleanup and Drew moved back into the third spot in the batting order.

   Antonio Perez  /   2B
Born: 01/26/80
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Perez is 11-for-18 on the trip and 14-for-24 since being activated on May 18. Overall, he's batting .516.

"It's not too bad," said Perez. "I don't know if I'll keep doing this a couple more games or a couple more months. You have ups and downs. I know I can hit."

Just in case, the all-time highest Dodgers batting average was Babe Herman's .393 in 1930.

Ledee delivers: With a pinch-hit single on Saturday night, Ricky Ledee improved to 4-for-9 as a pinch-hitter and .301 overall, with 13 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs in 113 at-bats.

"I knew the purpose of my signing, so even though I think I can play a little more than this, I've come to terms with a lot of that stuff. I'm not 23 anymore," said Ledee, who is 31. "I do what it takes. I like the atmosphere of this team and my role on it. I'm very glad they've given me this opportunity."

Penny in talks: Pitcher Brad Penny said his agent has had preliminary discussions with the Dodgers regarding a contract extension. He added that if an agreement is not reached by midseason, he would likely test the free-agent market. Penny earns $5.1 million this year.

Coming up: Wilson Alvarez draws the Monday Memorial Day start against the Cubs, hoping to rebound from his three-inning, six-run outing in San Francisco last week. Alvarez is 3-1 with a 0.91 ERA lifetime against the Cubs, and he won his only start against them last year, pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.