Dodgers earn split of Taiwan series

Dodgers earn split of Taiwan series

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan -- Manny Ramirez, James Loney and local favorite Chin-lung Hu had three hits each, while Xavier Paul and Michael Restovich had two hits each in Sunday's Taiwan series finale, an 11-1 win over a Chinese Professional Baseball League All-Star team for a split of the rain-shortened series.

Ramirez scored three runs, Trayvon Robinson homered with three RBIs and Paul drove in two runs before leaving the game with a bloody nose.

"Right now, this is practice and I'm not quite in form yet, but I'm getting into shape," said Ramirez, who was again the designated hitter. "I still need to play outfield. This was good experience. This league is good and the competition is good as well."

Ramirez made himself laugh in the postgame news conference when asked how long he would play.

"After speaking to my financier," he said, "five years, minimum. Maybe 15 years."

Some players, however, were not laughing. Four were sent down after the game. Non-roster players Brian Barton, Francisco Felix and Gabriel Gutierrez were reassigned to Minor League camp and Major League roster pitcher Kenley Jansen was optioned in the first cuts of the spring for the Dodgers.

Meanwhile, manager Joe Torre used the game to get a look at three pitchers now on the radar for possible spots on the Opening Day pitching staff -- Josh Towers, Josh Lindblom and Jon Link.

Towers, whose start was rained out Saturday, got the call again in place of the injured Hong-Chih Kuo. After allowing hits to three of the first four batters and a run, Towers retired seven of his last eight batters with two strikeouts, charged with one run in three innings.

Lindblom bested Towers with three scoreless innings on one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. But even before the game, Torre issued a reminder left over from last spring, when Lindblom made an unexpected run at a job late in spring, only for management to put the brakes on rushing the non-roster right-hander.

"I learned not to get excited about guys not on the roster," Torre said of the 22-year-old. "He's a longshot."

Link, one of two pitchers the Dodgers received from the White Sox in the Juan Pierre trade, pitched into and out of a jam for a scoreless ninth inning.

Before the game, Torre said he spoke by phone with general manager Ned Colletti and coaches Don Mattingly and Rick Honeycutt for a summary of the games he missed in Arizona.

"Aside from Chad Billingsley getting his pitch count up, he did OK," said Torre. "Scott Elbert and Eric Gagne got roughed up a bit. Blake DeWitt, he's doing special things."

Torre said he won't wait until the end of Spring Training to announce how he'll handle the second base position, but hinted that DeWitt will at least be in the mix, with Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard also to choose from.

"Again, if it happens to be DeWitt, we'll certainly make sure that Carroll and Belliard have to be part of the equation somewhat," Torre said.

Torre said there was nothing new with reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, who missed a chance to pitch in front of his mother and against his countrymen because of another sore elbow.

"According to him, every spring is like this," Torre said. "I just told him the only problem is, if he tries to, because of the home crowd -- he's leaving more tickets than I ever have in my life -- I didn't want him hurting himself. Pain is nothing new to him. I'd never forgive myself."

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