PHOENIX >> If September Dave Roberts could time-travel and show February Dave Roberts some of the lineup cards he has been filling out, it might have given his younger self reason to worry what it meant that he was depending so much on rookies this late in the season.“It probably would have,” the rookie manager said. “There were some games where you’d look at the lineups we’ve run out there in September and it kind of looks like a split-squad game, I think, if you look at it from the beginning of spring training.“But these guys are major-league players playing on a playoff-contending team.”In fact, three of them helped the Dodgers move a step closer to clinching that playoff spot with a 6-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday night. Rookie right-hander Brock Stewart went five innings for the victory, bailed out of trouble in the fourth inning by a key defensive play from left fielder Andrew Toles. Both of them started the season in Class-A.And Corey Seager had two hits (including a triple) and scored twice. The presumptive National League Rookie of the Year has 181 hits this season and passed Steve Sax Saturday for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rookie record.“Yeah, it’s cool,” Seager said with his usual level-headed response to achievement. “But it’s one of those things you kind of put on the back burner until after the season. Right now, we’re still trying to win games and clinch here.”They are very close to doing that. The San Francisco Giants blew another late lead Saturday night, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals and allowing the Dodgers to carve their magic number to clinch a fourth consecutive NL West title down to 10.They have done it by starting rookie pitchers a major-league high 64 times this season. The next four teams on the list — the Oakland A’s, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers — are a combined 66 games under .500, strangers to playoff-race pressure. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have gone 38-26 in those rookie starts. As the games have become more important, the Dodgers have started rookies 24 times in their past 41 games. Those rookie starters have posted a 3.00 ERA in those starts. The Dodgers are 16-8 in that time when a rookie starts (9-8 with more seasoned starters).“I don’t think there’s any of that tenure or totem pole in here,” said Joc Pederson, a savvy second-year player who crushed a 463-foot, two-run home run onto the walkway above the Chase Field pool in the fourth inning.“We just want everyone to be comfortable here because when you’re comfortable you can perform better and help the team win games and that’s what it’s all about.”Stewart did his part Saturday. He allowed a home run to the first batter he faced, Jean Segura, and another solo home run to Welington Castillo in the fourth inning. But Toles made a strong throw from left field to nail Yasmany Tomas trying to score from second on a single to left, cutting off what could have been a damaging inning for Stewart.“That’s outrageous,” the 22-year-old Seager said when reminded Stewart and Toles began the year in Class-A.“I would have told you you’re crazy or something like that,” Stewart said to another time-travel scenario that would have informed him in April when he started for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga that he would finish the season pitching in a major-league pennant race.“But I’m just looking forward. I’m not looking back. I realize I started there. But I just keep looking forward and focusing on each next pitch, next start.”After Toles’ big throw, the Diamondbacks were beaten. They went 2 for 17 with 11 strikeouts against Stewart and five Dodgers relievers over the last five innings.“You look at February and look at our roster and project and obviously this is not how we would have seen it playing out,” Roberts said of the reliance on young players. Rookie pitchers have now thrown 386 1/3 innings for the Dodgers this season, 29.1 percent of their total.“But I think the common factor with these young players is just the pulse, the head. They just don’t scare off. I think you can look at a half-dozen, a dozen of these players that have come in and made an impact. They’re really unshaken. We’ve put them in some tough spots. But they carry themselves like they’ve been around a long time.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
NEW YORK – Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. reported a wider loss in the fourth quarter Friday as costs for building its rapidly growing base of subscribers mounted. The company, which added shock jock Howard Stern to its roster last month, lost $311.4 million compared with a loss of $261.9 million in the same period a year ago. The loss per share came in at 23 cents, a penny lower than analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had been expecting and 2 cents greater than the loss of 21 cents a year ago. Revenues more than tripled to $80 million from $25.2 million. Despite the relatively in-line results, the shares of both Sirius and its rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. fell on Friday, a day after XM disclosed the sudden departure of one of its board members, who warned of a looming “crisis” at that company if it didn’t rein in costs. Sirius, which is based in New York, said it added a total of 1.27 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, the leadup period before it added Stern to its lineup in early January. The company also said it expected to be profitable next year, and to generate about $3 billion in revenue and $1 billion in free cash flow, after expenditures, in 2010. Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett called the forward projection “very positive” in a note to investors. Sirius’ five-year contract with Stern was originally worth $500 million, but its value swelled to $600 million due to the appreciation of Sirius’ shares. XM has also signed big-ticket programming deals, including a $650 million pact with Major League Baseball. Sirius also announced Friday it had reached a new agreement to carry the Fox News and Fox News Talk channels beginning March 15. The previous agreement had expired at the end of 2005. For the full year, Sirius lost $863 million, or 65 cents per share, versus a loss of $712.2 million, or 57 cents per share, in 2004. Full-year revenues jumped to $242.2 million from $66.9 million. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant XM also posted a much wider than expected loss on Thursday as it spent heavily on marketing to counter the threat from Stern’s arrival at Sirius. XM executives said they expected that spending to decline sharply going forward. Sirius’ shares fell 39 cents, or 6.9 percent, to close at $5.26 Friday afternoon after heavy trading, while XM’s shares dropped $2.41, or 10 percent, to close at $21.57, also in heavy trading. Both issues trade on the Nasdaq. Sirius and XM are spending heavily to expand their businesses, which charge about $13 a month for dozens of channels of commercial-free music, as well as talk, news and sports. Sirius reported that its costs for acquiring new subscribers more than doubled to $145.2 million from $64.9 million in the same period a year ago. Its average cost for adding each subscriber, however, fell to $113 from $124 in the same period a year ago. Sirius ended 2005 with 3.3 million subscribers, triple the level from a year ago of 1.1 million. XM has more than 6 million subscribers.