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DODGERS NOTEBOOK: SHORT SUPPLY IN OF.

Byline: RICH HAMMOND Staff Writer

J.D. Drew's balky left quadriceps kept him out of the starting lineup Thursday night and exposed a potential weakness for the Dodgers, one that manager Grady Little is attempting to fix.

With Drew out -- he was available to pinch-hit and should start tonight -- the Dodgers did not have a true fourth outfielder available.

Andre Ethier, Kenny Lofton and Jason Repko filled the three outfield sports, and in case of injury, reserve infielder Ramon Martinez probably would have filled an outfield spot.

``We have some interchangeable parts,'' Little said. ``There have been a lot of teams that play a whole year with just four outfielders, so not having a true fifth outfielder is not a concern for me.''

That said, infielder Julio Lugo will get in some batting-practice work in the outfield, where he hasn't played since 2001, to add to his value as a utility player.

The Dodgers could run into a bigger problem if Drew's quadriceps strain keeps him out for more than a day, although both Drew and Little said Drew's removal from the game Wednesday was precautionary.

Drew suffered the injury when reaching for a low line drive in the fourth inning. Drew spoke to Little about possibly staying in the game, but said he didn't want a repeat of an injury he suffered while playing with St. Louis, when Drew played with a strained quadriceps and then suffered a torn muscle.

``It started getting tighter and tighter,'' Drew said. ``I was worried about another ball in the gap and really grabbing (the muscle) and missing a lot of time. I told (Little) I could go out there and be careful and he said, `We don't want to do anything stupid.' ... It's just a little stiff. It doesn't feel too terrible at all.''

Run around: A botched rundown play led to Colorado's third run on Wednesday when Dodger third baseman Wilson Betemit held onto the ball too long before throwing it home.

Rundowns have been an issue for the Dodgers a few times this season, and Little said he addressed the play with the players Wednesday night but also added a bit of levity to the situation.

``We joked about that,'' Little said. ``We had a new guy (Betemit) join the club and he fit right in with the way we do rundowns. We have had our difficulties with them a few times. The people involved know exactly what they're supposed to do but it just doesn't happen sometimes.''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 11, 2006
Words:418
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