Notes: Little tweaks lineup
Manager hoping to give scuffling offense a spark
CINCINNATI -- In the wake of three shutouts in the last four games, Dodgers manager Grady Little shook up his lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Reds.
Little swapped the top two hitters, moving leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal to second and moving Juan Pierre to leadoff. Little also sat left fielder Luis Gonzalez, moving Andre Ethier up to Gonzalez's fifth spot in the order in left field and adding Matt Kemp to the lineup in right field.
"We're just in a funk," said Gonzalez, who is hitting .152 over the last 10 games.
Pierre went 3-for-4 Tuesday night and is 6-for-15 lately, while Furcal was 0-for-4 against the Reds and is 1-for-15. Both are hitting .281. Ethier is 5-for-15 this month after hitting .383 in July.
"It's just a little something to see if we can't get it going a little bit," said Little. "It's going to take production from everyone to make it work. It's a plan, but it doesn't work every game."
The move at the top makes particular sense when the Dodgers are facing right-handed pitching, as the switch-hitting Furcal is batting .251 against righties, while Pierre is at .292. Pierre also has 44 stolen bases compared to 12 for Furcal, who has been hobbled the entire season by an ankle injury.
Little said Gonzalez also is likely to sit Thursday, when the Reds start left-hander Phil Dumatrait. Jeff Kent was back in the lineup for a second consecutive game after missing a week with a hamstring. Little said he wouldn't rule out Kent playing in Thursday's day game, but wouldn't decide until after the game.
Lowe throws: Derek Lowe might have stumbled upon a solution to his irritated hip, if not the cause. He cut short his bullpen session Wednesday because of discomfort with coaches Rick Honeycutt and Dan Warthen watching. He went back out to the flat ground of the outfield to play catch and the trio determined that he's been shortening his stride to protect the hip, but instead it causes more discomfort.
"When we saw that I was about a foot short and we lengthened it, it felt fine," said Lowe, who returned to the bullpen for about 15 more throws with the longer stride.
Lowe said he unknowingly did the same thing in his game against Arizona Saturday, striding short and painfully in the pregame bullpen warmup in the first inning, but lengthening the stride in the second inning as the discomfort moderated.
He's scheduled to start Saturday in St. Louis.
Injury update: Pitcher Chin-hui Tsao received a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum and was advised to continue his current therapy program.
There was no update available for Triple-A infielder Tony Abreu, who underwent an MRI for lower abdominal soreness that has raised suspicions of a sports hernia.
Coming up: Brett Tomko (2-9, 5.56 ERA) opposes Dumatrait in Thursday's series finale at 9:35 a.m. PT, with the National Weather Service calling for temperatures in the mid-90s. Tomko, a former Reds hurler who ran several miles in similar heat Tuesday, said bring it on.
"The heat's never bothered me," he said. "I went on the theory that everyone had to deal with the elements. If I prepared for it, that gave me an edge. When I pitched in St. Louis, I trained for it. I ran when it was 107. You got to pitch in it, might as well run in it. It's a little different now. I'm used to L.A. weather. But I knew I'd be pitching one day game on this trip."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.