By Tony Jackson
Dodgers right-hander Derek Lowe was scratched from his scheduled start against San Diego on Wednesday night because of continued swelling in his pitching hand after he was struck by a thrown ball during batting practice on Tuesday.
Lowe was playing long toss with reliever Jonathan Broxton when one of Broxton’s throws sailed off line and struck Lowe in the fleshy area between the thumb and index finger.
“I missed the ball,” Lowe said. “We’re trying to make the swelling go down. I had X-rays, and nothing is broken. It’s just really, really bruised and sore.”
Chad Billingsley, who had been slated to go tonight, took Lowe’s spot. David Wells will now pitch against the Padres tonight. Both Billingsley and Wells had been scheduled to pitch on six days’ rest after the Dodgers were off on Monday. Brad Penny, who also would have gone on six days’ rest Saturday, now appears likely to pitch on Friday night against Arizona.
Club officials are hoping Lowe can go on Saturday against the Diamondbacks.
“I don’t see how it could be any sooner from what I saw in (the trainer’s room),” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “But we’ll see how it progresses. The X-rays were all negative, but there is so much swelling that he is having trouble gripping a ball right now.”
Lowe is 11-12 with a 3.80 ERA in 29 starts and one relief appearance this season, and he also dealt with a groin problem that knocked him out of action for about 10 days in mid-July.
“This kind of caps off the year for me so far,” Lowe said. “It has been thrilling.”
Other injuries: Rookie third baseman Andy LaRoche is limited to pinch hitting because his chronic back problem has become an issue again. LaRoche is unable to bend over to field ground balls and thus hasn’t appeared in a game in a week.
“It’s not serious,” Little said. “He seems to be OK swinging a bat, but fielding ground balls is a little bit of a bother right now, so it will probably be a couple of days before he is available (defensively).”
Meanwhile, shortstop prospect Ivan DeJesus Jr. was at Dodger Stadium for a visit with friend and fellow Puerto Rican Ramon Martinez, but DeJesus had a bandage on his left wrist. He underwent surgery last week to repair torn ligaments he suffered when his hand collided with a sliding baserunner’s helmet late in the season at Single-A Inland Empire.
“I was going to go to (the Arizona Fall League), but now I’m just going to rest and let this heal,” DeJesus said. “I want to be 100 percent and ready for spring training.”
DeJesus, 20, was the Dodgers’ second-round pick in the 2005 amateur draft. He had a solid year with the 66ers, batting .287 with 22 doubles, 52 RBI and a .371 on-base percentage, and could be in line for an invitation to big-league camp next spring.
Happy anniversary: The Dodgers tentatively are scheduled to open the 2008 regular season with a two-game series at home against San Francisco, something the club is believed to have requested of the commissioner’s office. The Dodgers and Giants next season will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their respective moves from New York to the West Coast.
Dodgers president Jamie McCourt unveiled plans on Wednesday for the Dodgers’ season-long celebration, which will include commemorations of each decade the Dodgers have been in Los Angeles on a monthly basis beginning with a commemoration of the 1950s in April, the ’60s in May and so on and so forth through August. There then will be a reunion of “Dodgers legends” in September.
The club will be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first such honor ever bestowed on a major-league ballclub, and will have a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade for the first time on Jan. 1, 2008. The Dodgers also will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1988 World Series championship team.