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Notes: Little rearranges lineup
07/20/2006 9:29 PM ET
PHOENIX -- Russell Martin returned from a bruised wrist Thursday night, but Cesar Izturis was still attending to family matters and Dodgers manager Grade Little, left with essentially the same deck of cards, shuffled them anyway.

He took J.D. Drew, homerless since June 1, and moved him into the No. 2 spot in the batting order, elevated Andre Ethier to cleanup, Willy Aybar to fifth and started Jose Cruz Jr. in center field instead of four-time Gold Glover Kenny Lofton, who is batting .333 on the trip but hasn't played the best defense of his career, particularly on getting jumps for line drives.

"He's probably had his better days out there, but he gives you everything he's got," Little said of Lofton.

But Little was quick to point out that the changes are not the result of disappointment in any one player.

"It's collectively, not just one person," he said. "We're not going to keep repeating things that aren't working. We've got to change something. Things aren't going good right now. It's the whole club and you try not to catch yourself pointing fingers at each other. We, as a team, are not going to do that."

Little said he believes his roster, if healthy, is good enough to finish first in the National League West.

"We just need everyone in the room to do their job. With everyone active, we feel good about this club," he said. "Losing six of seven, I'd be lying if I said there aren't missing components. I don't know if I can narrow it down specifically. There's a lot of baseball left and we know we've got a good club."

Martin, who missed Wednesday night's game after being struck by a Juan Cruz fastball Tuesday night, said the range of motion in the wrist had improved significantly and the swelling had reduced.

Little said he expected Izturis to rejoin the club Friday night for the opener of the homestand against St. Louis. He missed the entire four-game series in Arizona for the birth of his daughter.

Capgate: Coach Mariano Duncan said he has spoken with Bob Watson, Major League Baseball's head of discipline, and Mike Port, vice president of umpiring, as part of the investigation into Duncan's ejection by umpire Angel Hernandez, who caught the cap Duncan threw and gave it to a fan.

Duncan said he's been told a suspension and fine are likely in ejection cases where a coach comes onto the field. Fines are automatic for tossing equipment. He expects to receive a decision on Friday. There also is precedent for disciplinary action to be taken against Hernandez, although MLB does not make those public.

Duncan said the umpires' postgame report accused him of bumping crew chief Randy Marsh in the argument that ensued. Duncan disputed that account. The umpires have had no comment.

Tomko to Vegas: Starter-turned-reliever Brett Tomko passed a 20-pitch session throwing to hitters Thursday and will have a two-outing rehab stint with Triple-A Las Vegas Saturday and Monday as a final test of his healed oblique muscle before rejoining the Dodgers in his new role as reliever.

"I felt pretty good. The pitches were doing what I wanted them to do," said Tomko, who threw to Ricky Ledee and Aybar. "I don't think I'm favoring it. I'm ready to go."

Little said the Dodgers were interested in seeing Tomko warm up out of the bullpen in Las Vegas, but he said he can get warm in 15-20 throws and was not concerned about that part of the transition.

Tomko said he's lost 12 pounds during his rehab by adjusting his eating schedule with more frequent meals but smaller portions.

Beimel baffled: Reliever Joe Beimel still can't understand why first-base umpire Hernandez called him for a balk in the sixth inning Wednesday night when he appeared to have picked Chad Tracy off first base, bringing a runner in from third base.

"He said I stepped too far towards home plate," said Beimel. "Look at the tape. Not even close. I'm not an idiot. With a runner on third, the last thing I want to do is make a mistake and let that runner score. I was careful. I stepped right toward first base. It's a little upsetting."

Beimel said he remembers being called for one other balk in parts of six Major League seasons.

"Might have been the same guy called it, I'm not positive," he said of Hernandez.

Mueller stymied: Infielder Bill Mueller said doctors have ruled out all known procedures to repair the deteriorating condition in his right knee.

"We don't know what's left," said Muller, who is done for the season and quite possibly his career.

Mueller will continue rehabilitation in hopes of a miraculous recovery or some yet-to-be-discovered solution. He is signed through 2007.

Ruggiano to Devil Rays: The Dodgers sent outfielder Justin Ruggiano to Tampa Bay to complete the June 27 acquisition of Mark Hendrickson, Toby Hall and cash. The Dodgers earlier sent Dioner Navarro and Jae Seo to the Devil Rays. Ruggiano, 24, was hitting .260 with nine homers and 45 RBIs for Double-A Jacksonville.

Fitness program: The Dodgers will host a national fitness program with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, American Diabetes Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons called "Promote a Lifetime of Activity for Youth" (PLAY) to combat childhood obesity. All-Star infielders Nomar Garciaparra and Izturis and head trainer Stan Johnston will interact with local youth at Dodger Stadium on Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m on the field.

Coming up: Jeff Suppan (6-5, 5.52) and the Cardinals oppose the Dodgers and Brad Penny (10-3, 3.26) in the homestand opener Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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