Notes: No hard feelings from Tomko
Veteran understands club's decision, hopes for another chance
NEW YORK -- Brett Tomko lost his job Friday and took it better than most.
"There's a little bit of a sense of relief," Tomko said after being designated for assignment to make room for David Wells, his friend who will be his replacement in the rotation. "It's time. Everybody knows it's been a rough year. I haven't been received well there. I hope I get a chance to get a fresh start for the month and get back to the basics that made me successful."
Tomko pitched early in the season with a back stress reaction and said he recently spotted flaws in his mechanics that "got me out of whack and into a tailspin, and I couldn't get out of it." The result was a 2-11 record and a 5.80 ERA, with just one win since May 9.
Tomko said he was well prepared for Friday's decision after the widespread coverage of Wells' agreement the night before. It seemed to help that Tomko and Wells are friends. Tomko said his in-laws babysat Wells as a child.
"[The Dodgers] did what they felt they had to do," Tomko said. "I had things that nagged at me, but I'm not blaming anything or anybody. I just didn't get the job done. It's not like they're bringing in a chump."
At which point Wells, dressing in the next locker, said: "Wanna bet? I've been a chump of late."
Tomko continued: "I'm a big guy about accountability. I threw the ball. It's nobody's fault but my own. I'm more disappointed that I didn't do what they expected me to do."
Tomko was signed before last season to a two-year contract guaranteed for $7.7 million, and the Dodgers are still responsible for a $1 million buyout of next year's option.
Wells, finally: It took the Dodgers 14 years and five general managers, but they finally got their man with the signing of the 44-year-old Wells.
Of course, it's not quite the same Wells.
Fred Claire confirmed he tried to sign Wells in the spring of 1993 after his release by Toronto, but Wells had family ties in Michigan and signed with the Tigers. Kevin Malone said he made a run at Wells in 1999, but was told the left-hander wanted to stay in the American League. Dan Evans had talks with Wells in 2001, when he wound up signing Hideo Nomo and Kazuhisa Ishii and Wells returned to the Yankees. And Paul DePodesta lost in the 2004 bidding when Wells chose to play for his hometown Padres.
Martinez producing: Ramon Martinez was told he had made the club last Spring Training and didn't believe it until the season started, so you can imagine what he must have been thinking batting under the Mendoza line for virtually the entire season.
"You know me. I'm never comfortable," said Martinez. "In this game, you never get comfortable or it do you wrong. This has been the most frustrating year I've ever had offensively. But I never get down on myself. I just keep working. I know I can hit. I've just been going through a tough time."
Martinez seems to be coming out of his slump, having driven in two runs Thursday, two Wednesday and two last Sunday. He has 22 hits and 22 RBIs. The last Dodger to have at least as many RBIs as hits, with a minimum of 22, was Billy Ashley, who had 25 RBIs and 22 hits (nine home runs) in 1996.
Beimel's return: The last time reliever Joe Beimel was in New York, things didn't go well. He cut his hand in a bar accident, undermining the club's playoff chances. Here's how he approached his return to the Big Apple:
"I've thought about it a little bit," said Beimel. "I figure I might need to put on a helmet and gloves up to my elbow and protect myself, roll myself up in a pad and sit in my hotel room the whole weekend.
"Mostly, though, I'm looking forward to it because we're going in needing to win as many games as we can. It's always exciting in New York. As for the other stuff, I learned my lesson. There won't be too much extracurricular activity while I'm there."
Honors next week: During the Dodgers' three-game homestand against the Washington Nationals next week, Hall of Famer Don Sutton will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Monday, and former first baseman Wes Parker will be recognized before the game on Wednesday, for being named to the All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove team.
Coming up: Eric Stults (1-1, 3.91) returns to last year's site of his first Major League victory on Saturday when he starts for the Dodgers against Orlando Hernandez (8-4, 3.09) at 12:55 p.m. PT.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.