SALT LAKE CITY -- It was Opening Night for the Las Vegas 51s, and James Loney sent the first pitch he saw Thursday night about halfway to the snow-capped Wasatch Mountains.
If last year's .380 batting title didn't mean a Major League job, maybe 440-foot home runs will. That's how Loney responded to being sent back to the Pacific Coast League. He's unhappy enough to welcome a trade, but he's not sulking.
"I'm here because I love to play the game," Loney said before batting practice. "No matter where it's at, I'm still playing and that's the main thing. There are a lot of things going on in the world, and my situation is little compared to those things. I'll just keep working hard so I can be ready."
Loney told management last weekend that, while he wants to be a Dodger, if it takes a trade to get him to the Major Leagues, he'd welcome that, too.
"What I told them wasn't a demand," said Loney. "If they think that what they've done is what they have to do to win the World Series and it's best for the team, this is what they have to do."
What they have to do is FREE JAMES LONEY. And by FREE, I mean PROMOTE. Loney's doing all the right things and saying all the right things (except for that "I wouldn't mind if you traded me" nonsense), but it's too bad it'll take an injury to Nomar to bring Loney up to the majors.
If I didn't like Nomar so much, I'd hire Jeff Gillooly to, well, pull a Jeff Gillooly on him.