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DODGERS NOTEBOOK: BEIMEL BLEEDING TOO MUCH TO PITCH.

Byline: TONY JACKSON Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Dodgers left-hander Joe Beimel, one of the club's most reliable relievers throughout the regular season, was left off the roster for the National League Division Series after severely cutting the little finger of his pitching hand during a freak accident in his hotel room here Monday night, requiring 10 stitches.

His absence loomed large in Wednesday's 6-5, Game 1 loss to the New York Mets.

Beimel attempted to throw in the bullpen hours before game time, but bled so much he had to be sent back to Los Angeles. Once there, he was expected to meet with a plastic surgeon to have stitches sewn into each layer of skin rather than sewn in superficially.

Club officials hope Beimel will be ready for next week's National League Championship Series if the Dodgers advance.

``He actually had good stuff in the 'pen,'' Dodgers trainer Stan Johnston said. ``He was throwing as hard as he normally does. But we couldn't control the bleeding.''

Baseball rules prohibit anyone from playing if there is visible blood on any part of his uniform or body.

Beimel was drinking from a water glass when it slipped out of his hand. He tried to catch it before it shattered, but wasn't able to, and his hand was close enough to the point of impact that he wound up with a deep gash.

With no other left-handed options, the Dodgers replaced Beimel on the roster with rookie right-hander Chad Billingsley, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage against the Mets' potent and heavily left-handed lineup.

With the score tied in the seventh inning, Little used righty Brad Penny, who gave up tworuns -- including a tiebreaking, RBI single to lefty- hitting Carlos Delgado -- and got tagged with the loss.

``It was kind of set up (for Penny) as soon as we learned we wouldn't have Beimel,'' Little said. ``That was when I would have used (Beimel), to pitch that seventh inning.''

Little already had used Mark Hendrickson, his only remaining left- handed reliever, to get the final two outs in the sixth. Hendrickson inherited a first-and- third, one-out situation from Derek Lowe and got out of it with no further damage.

Curtain call: Less than a month after shutting out the Mets on three hits over six innings in his first major-league start, Dodgers rookie lefty Hong-Chih Kuo -- who will face the Mets again tonight in Game 2 -- said there was no secret to his earlier success against them.

``I threw strikes,'' he said. ``That was the key. That, and the fact they had never seen me throw before that game.''

Kuo had been decidedly mediocre as a reliever before finding success as a starter, something he attributes to being able to use all his pitches instead of just his fastball and slider.

``He has been very aggressive, he works quickly, and he changes speeds,'' Little said. ``If he continues to pitch like he has since he rejoined our club as a starter, he'll be fine. Nothing fazes this guy too much. He has a lot of confidence right now, and we have a lot of confidence in him.''

No change: Although right-handed-hitting Julio Lugo is expected to replace switch-hitting Wilson Betemit at third base for Game 2 against veteran lefty Tom Glavine, Little said there was only a ``slim'' chance he would sit center fielder Kenny Lofton.

Lofton, another left-handed batter, is 0 for 11 lifetime against Glavine in the regular season and 3 for 12 against him in the postseason. But Little's only right-handed-hitting alternative is seldom-used Jason Repko. Andre Ethier had an oustanding rookie season, but he also bats lefty.

``I know (Lofton) hasn't had a whole lot of success against the guy,'' Little said. ``But this is a different season now.''

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 5, 2006
Words:637
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