Loney prepared to aid taxed bullpen

Loney prepared to aid taxed bullpen

Loney prepared to aid taxed bullpen
DENVER -- Dodgers first baseman James Loney threw a bullpen session Sunday.

Seriously.

After using his entire bullpen in Saturday's 13-inning loss to the Rockies, manager Don Mattingly reluctantly told Loney he was the emergency reliever if the situation arose Sunday "and we had one of those weird games." Loney, a two-way star in high school that some scouts believed was a better pitching prospect than hitter, was thrilled.

"He told me he could pick guys off. I just want him to throw strikes," Mattingly said. "He thinks he's coming in the eighth with second and third and he'll punch out two guys. He's kind of excited."

Although in Sunday's starting lineup at first base, Loney sprinted to the bullpen 75 minutes before game time for some last-minute pointers from bullpen coach Ken Howell and closer Javy Guerra. And he didn't need to borrow a pitcher's glove, because he has one with his name embroidered on it.

"For days like today, right?" Loney said.

Loney called the session a "touch-and-feel" with bullpen catcher Rob Flippo. Displaying a natural lefty's windup, albeit occasionally short-arming the follow-through, Loney threw all four pitches -- fastball, sinker, curve and changeup. He said he's messed around throwing off a mound since the Dodgers drafted him in the first round of 2003, but "this was a little more serious."

Mattingly watched the session from the dugout with trepidation, saying something to the effect that Loney will have trouble brushing his teeth Monday because he's not used to throwing so hard. Mattingly, also a first baseman, said he never pitched after high school.

It was also pointed out to Mattingly that Aaron Miles, whose versatility knows no limit, appeared in five Major League games as a pitcher for Tony La Russa's Cardinals. The right-hander tossed five one-inning appearances -- four of them scoreless -- for an overall 3.60 ERA.

"My bullpen just got deeper," said Mattingly.

Mattingly said he would try to stay away from Scott Elbert and Matt Guerrier in Sunday's rubber match. Also, Guerra made 32 pitches Saturday, 15 on Todd Helton's game-changing at-bat that ended with an RBI double.