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Notes: Hendrickson likes his outing

Notes: Hendrickson likes his outing

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Hours after manager Grady Little's contract was extended, his team was pounded by the champion Cardinals, 13-0, the Dodgers' third consecutive loss, during which they have been outscored 27-1.

Fifth-starter candidate Mark Hendrickson was charged with four runs in five innings, although three of the innings went 1-2-3.

"I feel good about it," said Hendrickson. "I think I'm progressing well. My pitches are coming around. There was a big inning with two outs, and you can't have that. I'll take that from this outing."

Little agreed.

"He was great for three innings," he said.

Hendrickson, it turned out, was the most effective pitcher on the night of those in the Major League camp. He was followed by Chin-hui Tsao, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton and Joe Beimel. Each gave up runs, five by Beimel, four of them unearned after Marlon Anderson's two errors.

Saito and Broxton were pitching on consecutive days for the first time. Saito was taken deep by Chris Duncan, who later doubled off the top of the center-field fence off Beimel. Duncan is 4-for-4 this spring against the Dodgers with three homers, a double and two walks.

"The game got ugly toward the end," said Little.

He dismissed the recent struggles by late-inning relievers Saito, Broxton and Beimel.

"There's no concern on our end on that right now," he said.

Broxton conceded he's "hit a little skid, but I'll be through it shortly." He did not use his split-finger pitch in this game and said he felt better than the day before.

Schmidt throws: Scouts are suggesting there must be something wrong with Jason Schmidt, because his fastball hasn't been very fast.

Schmidt scoffed at the concern after throwing 83 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday.

"I know what it takes in Spring Training and I don't think about velocity now," said Schmidt, who has two more exhibition starts before he takes the ball in Game 3 of the regular season in Milwaukee. "It's not only about being ready for April 1 but for June and July and August and throughout an entire season. I feel fine."

Schmidt said he felt better in the simulated game than in his most recent start, but acknowledged that a simulated game isn't like an exhibition game, which isn't like a regular-season game, which isn't like a post-season game.

"You see guys in the World Series throw 98 (mph) when during the season they were 92 or 93 and you wonder, where did that come from?' " he said. "That's what makes us, us. It's not just velocity, it's getting up for game situations. You also learn to take your game to a different level and it's not always about velocity. All through 2005, I didn't have it and I spent the whole year trying to figure it out and drove myself crazy. You try to reach back and wear yourself out by the All Star break. I've learned to relax and even if it isn't there, I've learned you can win with 85 as well as 95."

Little said Schmidt was "a little better" in the simulated game against Minor League hitters.

"His command has been a little bit off," said Little. "Big power guys can take awhile in Spring Training. You don't see them turned up until the last five or six days."

Repko update: After getting three at-bats in a Minor League intra-squad game and running the bases, Jason Repko said he is confident his strained groin muscle will be healed by Opening Day.

Brazoban getting closer: Yhency Brazoban is scheduled to take a major step in his recovery from Tommy John elbow reconstruction Friday when he faces hitters for the first time.

Brazoban, who set a franchise rookie record of 21 saves in 2005 (since broken by Takashi Saito), blew out early last season, but his rehabilitation has been free of setbacks. He has been throwing bullpen sessions for three weeks.

If all continues to go well, Brazoban will remain in Vero Beach when the Dodgers break camp for 10 days in an extended Spring Training, then began a rehabilitation assignment at Single-A Inland Empire, which will allow him to continue receiving treatment by the Major League medical staff.

Stadium parking overhauled: The Dodgers will implement a new parking plan at Dodger Stadium this season in an effort to simplify the entrance and exit processes and improve safety. They will use a Controlled Zone Parking plan and double the number of parking staff to assist fans as they enter and exit the Stadium. Controlled Zone Parking means that fans will enter and exit through the same gate and be directed to park in a specific parking lot and space. Additionally, new pedestrian walkways have been designated for the safety of fans as they traverse the parking lots and enter the Stadium. For more information on the 2007 upgrades to parking lots and procedures at Dodger Stadium, please refer to this link.

Campo Las Palmas: Wednesday marks the 20th birthday of the Dodgers' Academy in the Dominican Republic. Among the most notable alumni to come through the baseball school, located in the town of Guerra, are former Dodgers Ramon and Pedro Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Raul Mondesi and Jose Offerman. Tony Abreu, a native of Puerto Plata, also has spent time at the academy.

Howell visits: Jay Howell, closer on the Dodgers' 1988 championship team, visited Dodgertown for the first time since he retired after the 1994 season.

"I wore my championship ring so they'd let me into the lot," said Howell, who pitched for the Dodgers from 1988-92.

Howell was a three-time All-Star and he did not allow a run over the last seven weeks of that 1988 season, but will always be remembered for being ejected in Game 3 of the NLCS in New York for having pine tar on his glove. He was suspended for two games, gave up the Game 3-winning homer to Mark McGwire in the World Series, then saved Game 4 with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Coming up: Fifth-starter candidate Hong-Chih Kuo follows starter Brad Penny to the mound Wednesday night when the Dodgers host the Mets. Also scheduled to pitch are Elmer Dessens and Chin-hui Tsao, who is making a late run at Dessens' bullpen spot. Oliver Perez starts for the Mets.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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