Notes: Relief for Garciaparra

Notes: Relief for Garciaparra

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nomar Garciaparra said that his narrow escape from serious injury when he was hit by a pitch on Friday reminded him of 2000, when he was hit by a pitch and played most of the season with what would later be diagnosed as a split tendon that required surgical repair at the start of the 2001 season.

"It scared me," Garciaparra said. "It was good to hear there was nothing."

Garciaparra said that he would probably miss a few games as the swelling reduces.

"There's plenty of time to get ready," he said. "No need to rush it."

He said he empathized with Andy LaRoche, who will miss at least two months with a torn thumb ligament.

"You don't want to see any teammate go down and get hurt," Garciaparra said. "We need everybody healthy."

DeWitt arrives: Blake DeWitt got the call on Friday night, telling him to report to the Major League clubhouse in the morning. DeWitt knows that because of LaRoche's injury, management is exploring every option.

"It's a great opportunity to get some experience under my belt," said DeWitt, 22. "I'll try to make the most of it."

Saturday's original lineup had Ramon Martinez starting at third base.

D.Y. breaks through: Manager Joe Torre had been told that one thing Delwyn Young can do is hit, but nobody was sure what Young's defensive position was. So Torre showed up for his first Dodgers camp and Young looked like a defensive specialist, but the latter went into Saturday's game with a .056 batting average and 11 strikeouts in 18 at-bats.

Young finally connected, with a massive two-run, wind-aided blast off the roof in right field to trigger Saturday's 20-6 win over the Cardinals.

"It was refreshing to square one up and stop swinging through pitches," said Young. "It seems I always start off with a rough patch. Maybe it's because of going back and forth as a switch-hitter."

Hitting coach Mike Easler believes that Young has focused so much on demonstrating that he can play multiple positions that it has distracted him from offense.

"He might be preoccupied with that," Easler said. "His game is hitting. You saw that when he was called up last year. He's trying to make an impression and win a job. He just needs to be himself."

Game roundup: Rafael Furcal and George Lombard also homered, and Matt Kemp tripled twice. Lombard, who has returned from a calf strain on fire, had three of the Dodgers' 20 hits. Young, Furcal and Kemp had three RBIs each.

Repko tightens up: Outfielder Jason Repko left Saturday's game after three innings when he felt his surgically repaired hamstring tighten up while going from first to third on a Furcal single. It was the first time Repko has reported any problems with the hamstring, which tore last spring and sidelined him for the entire season.

"It just got a little tight between second and third, and I'm not taking any chances," said Repko. "I really think it's nothing, but now I'm being extra cautious. I can't afford to get hurt again."

Kuo returns: Hong-Chih Kuo, who missed a week after reporting irritation in his troublesome elbow, pitched a scoreless and pain-free inning.

Torre liked what he saw, but again voiced concern about whether Kuo could handle bullpen duty. Kuo also is a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, although Esteban Loaiza is the favorite.

Kuroda wobbles: Saturday starter Hiroki Kuroda allowed two earned runs in two innings, making 45 pitches. He originally planned to throw three innings, but between his pitch count and long offensive innings on the Dodgers' part, he left after two.

Kuroda was not happy with the elevated location of his splitter and is still getting acquainted with the strike zones of Major League umpires, but reviews of his two-seamer were all positive, especially the ones he threw to right-handed batters.

"I'm not worried about him," said Torre. "I think he'll be better. It's a matter of him getting a comfort zone."

Coming up: A record crowd is expected at Dodgertown for Sunday's game between the Dodgers and World Series champion Red Sox at Holman Stadium. More than 9,100 seats have already been sold. The Red Sox-Dodgers game in Vero Beach on March 16, 2007, drew 9,069 fans, but the game was rained out and therefore could not count in the record books. The official largest crowd at Holman was set on March 10, 1991, when 9,028 watched the Dodgers play the Mets. Sunday's game will be televised on KCAL 9 at 10:05 a.m. PT. Loaiza is expected to start for the Dodgers against Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Red Sox. Also listed to pitch for the Dodgers are James McDonald, Brian Falkenborg and Matt Riley. McDonald is making his spring debut after missing a week with a tired arm.

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