Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dodgers to Banish James Loney to Distant Desert

Dodgers rookie first baseman James Loney will be odd man out when the band stops playing "Elmer's Tune" in the Los Angeles Dodgers most recent round of musical chairs. Loney, one of three first basemen the Dodgers are carrying, will have to make room for long reliever Elmer Dessens' imminent return from the disabled list. Expect manager Grady Little to carry 12 pitchers in light of a recent 15-4 loss to Florida that exposed the team's weakness at the end of the rotation. Such relatively marginal starters as Mark Hendrickson and Aaron Sele, or alternately rookie Chad Billingsley, point up the necessity for additional long relief, maybe even a spot starter. Expect Loney, bound for the Las Vegas '51s, to return to Los Angeles soon, but not before September when rosters are expanded to 40 players.