Notes: Dodgers sticking with Tomko
Struggling pitcher slated to make scheduled start Sunday
PHILADELPHIA -- The Dodgers apparently haven't given up on Brett Tomko, and he hasn't given up on himself.
The day after Tomko's record fell to 2-11 with a loss to the Phillies, manager Grady Little said Wednesday that he still planned to start the right-hander Sunday night against the Mets.
"Yes, he's one of our five starters right now," said Little. "Anything is subject to change. I don't look for it to change between now and Sunday."
There remains a chance that the Dodgers sign David Wells, recently released by the Padres. But Little shot down the possibility of promoting 22-year-old right-hander James McDonald from Double-A.
"It's not going to happen," Little said. "When he's ready, he'll be here like the other young players."
Tomko went back over video of Tuesday night's loss and compared it to last year, when he started the season 5-1. He said he spotted mechanical flaws that made him "look like a completely different pitcher."
Parker an all-timer: Former Dodger Wes Parker has been selected as the greatest defensive first baseman since the inception of the Gold Glove Award in 1957, according to fan balloting sponsored by Rawlings that began in Spring Training. By garnering 53 percent of the vote, Parker beat out, in order, Don Mattingly, Keith Hernandez, J.T. Snow, Vic Power and Bill White for the honor.
"This award wraps up my career in the most beautiful way possible," said Parker, who will be recognized for the honor at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 29. "I was a specialist at first base and took great pride in my fielding. This is the highest honor I've ever received. It's like my own personal Hall of Fame. It's been 35 years since my last game. You'd have to be 50 years old to have a real appreciation for what I did. That's beyond belief."
Parker won six straight Gold Gloves in Los Angeles from 1967-72 and played his entire career with the Dodgers from 1964-72. He finished fifth in the 1970 National League Most Valuable Player vote after hitting .319 with 47 doubles and 111 RBIs and also helped the Dodgers win the 1965 World Series over the Twins, hitting .304 with a homer and two RBIs while playing error-free baseball in the seven-game series. Parker is now part of the Dodgers' Speakers Bureau, where he attends community events and works closely with the Dodgers Dream Foundation. He also volunteers regularly at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles.
Injury updates: Nomar Garciaparra, disabled with a strained left calf, took ground balls for the first time and has been taking batting practice, but running will have to wait. He is eligible to be activated Aug. 29.
Hong-Chih Kuo resumed playing catch after a one-week setback following elbow surgery. His return this year does not appear likely.
Hendrickson in a jam: A starter by trade, Mark Hendrickson is becoming known as an effective reliever, like it or not. Dating to last September, he has a 2.25 ERA out of the bullpen, which includes his Houdini act Tuesday night, inheriting the bases loaded and no outs from Tomko and completing a perfect inning without a run scoring.
"Tonight was a learning experience. I haven't been in that situation too many times," Hendrickson said. "It's about controlling the adrenaline. I just came out and made pitches. We're just in a point trying to win games. My focus is on helping the team. I want to finish strong in whatever role Grady wants to put me in. The hardest thing, even last year in the playoffs, it's just about channeling that emotion. It's definitely there. As pitchers and players, you'll have different elements so you can focus on the task at hand."
Wolf plays catch: It might not sound like a big deal, but Randy Wolf played catch for the first time since behind shut down after a July 25 Minor League rehabilitation assignment. Wolf, Little and trainer Stan Conte are in agreement on the timetable of his return.
"We're hoping he makes it back," said Little. "but we're not looking for him back."
Meaning, there isn't enough time or (with the Minor League season ending next week) opportunity for Wolf to rebuild enough arm strength to resume starting this year.
"Helping out of the bullpen would be my best chance," said Wolf, who reported no pain and was pretty happy about it.
"I actually got to throw a ball today," Wolf said. "I've always thought I'd get back in there, but I don't want to get caught up in the calendar. The clock is running out. At the same time, if I take it easy one day, I don't want to feel like it's a setback."
Loney's power: From the day he was drafted, James Loney heard the skeptics wondering if he had enough power to fulfill the production expected from a Major League first baseman. The home run he hit Tuesday night gave him six in 203 at-bats, so the jury is still out, even though his slugging percentage of .473 is second on the club to Jeff Kent's .484 for players with at least as many at-bats as Loney.
"With my swing," said Loney, "I have to get the right pitch to drive, but when I get it, I can hit it out. I still don't try to hit home runs."
Coming up: In Thursday's series finale, Chad Billingsley (7-4, 3.63 ERA) opposes Fabio Castro (0-0, 12.27), who is making his first Major League start.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.