According to Little, the Dodgers are fielding the team that gives them the best chance to win, and with
Ethier and Kemp both hitting well, Gonzalez has been left out of the loop.
"We're going to do what we think is right, for not only now, but the future," Little said. "We're
trying to win the game tonight and at the same time we're looking at the future."
Gonzalez has struggled in the month of August, batting .237 with just one homer and eight RBIs. On
the season, the veteran is hitting .278 with 12 homers and 56 RBIs in 113 games. Last
season, Gonzalez saw his role reduced in Arizona and this year, he is experiencing a similar predicament
with the Dodgers.
Despite the lack of playing time, Gonzalez is still committed to helping the Dodgers win and he said
he understands Little's decision to go with the younger guys.
Kemp has emerged as a solid bat in the third spot in the lineup, hitting .333 with eight homers and 32
RBIs. In addition, Kemp provides speed on the basepaths and a strong arm in the outfield.
"He's a threat to hit the ball out of the park and he's a threat to get base hits," said Little of Kemp.
"He's exciting on the bases, at times you'll see a throw coming to the plate and he'll outrun the ball.
He has a world of talent."
Ethier, who plays right field when Gonzalez is in the lineup and left field when Kemp is in the
lineup, has also hit well this season. He is second on the club with 28 doubles and leads the team in
outfield assists with nine. Since June 20, Ethier is hitting .338 with five homers and 25 RBIs,
solidifying his spot in the lineup.
Abreu and LaRoche: Infielders Tony Abreu and Andy LaRoche have shown significant
improvement at Triple-A Las Vegas, and according to Little, both are on the fast track for a
Abreu, who has been suffering from an abdominal injury that has sidelined him since the All-Star
break, was 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored in Monday's game with the 51's. Abreu
was optioned to Las Vegas on July 18, and has been injured for most of the last two months.
According to Little, if Abreu continues to show that he is healthy, he will most likely be one of the
players called up in September. Abreu hit .288 with a homer, 12 doubles and nine RBIs in 43 games
with the Dodgers this season.
LaRoche, who missed three weeks in August because of a disc injury in his back, returned to the
lineup for the 51's on Saturday and played Monday night, going 2-for-5 with two hits and two runs
LaRoche struggled with the Dodgers when he was called up in early May, but according to Little, if
he proves to be healthy, he will be another September callup.
"LaRoche played two out of the last three games and he pinch-hit in the other game," Little said. "I
think one week is going to make a lot of difference for him."
Nomar update: Third baseman Nomar Garciaparra is closer to returning to the Dodgers
lineup. On Tuesday, the veteran infielder took infield, hit and jogged prior to the game and did not
show any noticeable signs of pain.
According to Little, Garciaparra will test his left calf when the team hits the road to play the San
Diego Padres, and he could be activated as soon as next week.
"As soon as he can run and that's not far away, [he will return]," said Little. "He'll try towards the end of the week this week, and he feels like he'll be ready
Winning ways: Derek Lowe's victory Monday night gave him six consecutive seasons with at
least 11 victories. The only other pitchers in baseball to accomplish that feat are Roy Oswalt, Tim
Hudson and C.C. Sabathia. Greg Maddux is one win away while Mark Buehrle is two wins short of
joining that group this season.
Money man: Ramon Martinez's game-winning sacrifice fly in Monday night's game gave
him an RBI in six consecutive games played, tying Kemp for the Dodgers' season high.
Martinez has 23 hits and 25 RBIs this season.
Coming up: All-Star Brad Penny (14-4, 2.65 ERA) takes on Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill
(3-3, 2.31) on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium.