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DODGERS NOTEBOOK: LOWE IS NO FAN OF D-SHIFTS.

Byline: TONY JACKSON Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- One day after New York Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado went 3 for 3 with a home run against him -- and 4 for 5 overall -- in the Dodgers' Game 1 loss, Derek Lowe re-emphasized his dislike of the dramatic defensive shift the Dodgers often employ on the infield against powerful left- handed pull hitters like Delgado.

Lowe believes that if the Dodgers had been playing straight up on the infield, all three of Delgado's singles would have been groundouts.

``I am not a big fan of (shifting) the defense,'' Lowe said. ``I understand why people do it, because of all the statistical stuff. But I don't believe in it. If you put three guys on one side, then you leave the third baseman over there (alone).''

Most of the Dodgers' shifts involve shortstop Rafael Furcal moving to the right of second base, giving the Dodgers three rightside infielders. But this time, Furcal didn't go as far, moving almost directly behind the bag.

``I don't know what ball he was supposed to get to,'' Lowe said. ``If the only ball he can get to is the high hop over my head, then why shift?''

Penny, who gave up a tiebreaking single to Delgado in the seventh, also complained after the game that the Dodgers had overshifted against Delgado. But Little defended the tactic.

``That's the way we have been playing all year,'' he said. ``In fact, we usually shift all three infielders to the other side of second base. This was just (Delgado's) night. He hit the ball where we weren't.''

Collins leaves: Dodgers player development director Terry Collins, who has hungered for the chance to manage again since being fired by the Angels after the 1999 season, accepted a three-year contract Thursday to become skipper of the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Pacific League.

Collins might have been a candidate for some of several current managerial vacancies in the big leagues, but all of those figured to include lengthy search processes that are only now getting under way.

It isn't clear how quickly the Dodgers plan to fill the position Collins is vacating.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said that as of yet, no other organization has called seeking permission to interview any other Dodgers employee currently under contract.

Minor matters: Right- hander Bryan Morris, the Dodgers' second pick (first-round sandwich) in this year's amateur draft, will miss all of next season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive surgery Tuesday. Morris, 19, was injured in his 14th and final start for Rookie-level Odgen (Utah), where he went 4-5 with a 5.13 ERA.

Meanwhile, lefty Scott Elbert, the club's first-round pick in 2004, was scratched from the Arizona Fall League because he pitched a total of 146 innings for Single-A Vero Beach and Double-A Jacksonville.

He will be replaced by Jonathan Meloan, who had a combined 1.90 ERA at Single-A Columbus, Vero Beach and Jacksonville and could be a candidate to be called up to the Dodgers next season.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

(color) Derek Lowe said the defensive shifts the Dodgers employed helped Carlos Delgado have a big day against him in Game 1.

Andrew Gombert/The New York Times
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 6, 2006
Words:538
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