The Los Angeles Dodgers, who seemed to be purely a function of Manny Ramirez's sizzling bat in their late surge to the NL West title last fall, appear to have missed the slugger not a whit this spring.
With Ramirez gone for three weeks now, serving a 50-game suspension for using a banned substance, the Dodgers have stormed to their best May since the heyday of Koufax and Drysdale.
Los Angeles went 20-9 in May, posting its highest win total for the month since going 21-7 in 1962.
"I think a big part of it is mind-set," manager Joe Torre told Yahoo Sports before last night's game against visiting Arizona. "I learned a long time ago, when you lose somebody, you're wishing you didn't lose him. But if the manager is worried about it, then everybody else is going to worry about it, too. Things you can't control, you just have to let go, and find a way to make other things work."
Don't ask Randy Johnson about his pursuit of 300 victories.
"I'm not going to talk about this stuff. OK, I got to go," he said the other day, quickly leaving his locker and heading to the field. "I get distracted. I just try not to talk at all."
The Big Unit will try for his 300th win tomorrow at Washington.
"This is a milestone, but he has said he didn't come here to just win five games," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He wants to reach it, but he wants to get it behind him, too."
Johnson would be the sixth lefty with 300 wins, behind Warren Spahn (363), Steve Carlton (329), Eddie Plank (326), Tommy Glavine (305), and, of course, Lefty Grove (300).
Short stint for Volquez
Cincinnati Reds righthander Edinson Volquez lasted only one inning after he was activated from the 15-day disabled list, leaving last night's start with numbness in the pinky and ring fingers of his pitching hand. Volquez will be evaluated in Cincinnati today, a spokesman said.
Pittsburgh recalled righthanded reliever Steven Jackson from triple-A Indianapolis. . . . Kyle Lohse expects to start for St. Louis tomorrow after emerging from a bullpen session without pain in his bruised right forearm. . . . Astros hitting coach Sean Berry, 43, was back in the Houston clubhouse after undergoing surgery May 8 to remove a kidney with a cancerous tumor.