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DODGERS NOTEBOOK: TRACY TO KEEP GREEN IN LINEUP.

Byline: Rich Hammond Staff Writer

Shawn Green remained in the Dodgers' lineup Friday night and, according to manager Jim Tracy, won't be seeing the bench again anytime soon.

Green took a .215 average into Friday. In attempts to get Green to break out of his slump, Tracy had moved him to the No. 2 spot in the order for the past three games after taking him out of the lineup for one game in hopes that a break would allow Green to clear his head.

Nothing has worked yet. After Green went 5 for 33 during the road trip, Tracy moved him back to the cleanup spot and declared he would stay in the lineup for the foreseeable future. Tracy had previously said that he wouldn't rule out the idea of Green sitting out more games.

``Shawn Green's our guy; it's that simple,'' Tracy said. ``We'd tired a couple different things, with us hitting him second over the course of the past few days in (Milwaukee). There were a number of at-bats where the game found him in run-producing situations. He's our guy.

``If the Dodgers are going to be a good club in 2004, we have to have Shawn Green. It's that simple. He's our guy, and he's got to get himself through this, which I think he will. With that being said, we want to make it very clear to him that he's our guy.''

Green committed two errors at first base during the road trip, but Tracy said he didn't believe Green's struggles at the plate were impacting his defense, or vice versa. Tracy also resisted the idea that Green's shoulder, which was surgically repaired during the offseason, might still be bothering him.

Tracy said Green's struggles were ``something that he has to get worked out.'' And while Tracy won't publicly give his opinion, he suggested that he had some idea as to what is bothering Green.

``I think it's very subtle in nature,'' Tracy said, ``and I think it's something that has to happen in a couple of at-bats to reinforce the idea to the individual, and I think that we will then be able to see positive things happen. Until that time, the only way that we're going to get to that point is for him to keep going to the plate and getting opportunities to figure it out.''

--Roberts' return: As expected, the Dodgers placed Hideo Nomo (split fingernail) on the disabled list, retroactive to May 20, and activated Dave Roberts (strained right hamstring).

Tracy said Nomo visited a nail specialist and had a false nail attached, which the Dodgers hope will alleviate the problem. The Dodgers hope Nomo will return during the June 11-13 series at Boston.

Roberts is ready to play but didn't start Friday because Arizona started tough left-hander Randy Johnson. Roberts usually sits against lefties anyway.

``If I'd have had it my way, I probably would have been back a week earlier, but the smarter minds prevailed and the medical staff kept me on the DL a little longer,'' Roberts said.

The Dodgers had a 16-9 record when Roberts left the lineup but have gone 8-12 since and struggled offensively.

``It's tough to see your team losing like that,'' Roberts said. ``You like to think you can go in and help out a little bit, but the guys have been playing hard.''

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 29, 2004
Words:569
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