Filed this for tomorrow’s paper. Nothing major. He didn’t rip the organization or anything like that. But this is still more candor than you usually get from a ballplayer, so it made for an interesting note.
By Tony Jackson
One day after being told he would be replaced in his next scheduled start on Tuesday night by Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers right-hander Esteban Loaiza expressed dissatisfaction on Saturday with the way he has been handled this season. Named the club’s fifth starter at the end of spring training, Loaiza didn’t actually make a start until Monday night at Arizona, where he lasted just four innings, gave up four runs and lost.
“I like to know what I’m doing and when I’m pitching so I can do my regular routine on the days in between, the working out, the running, the lifting weights,” said Loaiza, who is available out of the bullpen. “They told me I was pitching (today), so I would throw (a side session) Wednesday. But they didn’t have me throw (a side session) Wednesday, so for me, I didn’t know what was going on. For them, they probably had an idea but never told me.”
Loaiza’s only other appearance also was a loss, a 2 2/3-inning relief outing against San Francisco on April 2 in which the entire pitching plan had been thrown off by manager Joe Torre’s pregame decision to scratch Chad Billingsley because of the threat of inclement weather. Billingsley wound up coming out of the pen and facing four batters before a long rain delay, after which Loaiza came on and gave up one run in a 2-1 defeat.
After that game, Torre announced that Billingsley would be pushed back a day to Tuesday, which resulted in Loaiza being moved up to Monday, when he got lit up by the Diamondbacks.
Torre told Loaiza before Friday night’s game that he won’t start against the Pirates, saying it was because Kuo had pitched so well in an extended relief outing after Billingsley made an early exit on Tuesday night.
“This is no reflection on Loaiza, but (Kuo) threw a lot of strikes, and he threw a number of pitches,” Torre said. “We’re just curious how that’s going to work as a starter. Esteban asked me if this was just for one start, but I said, `I can’t tell you that right now.’ Let’s see what happens on Tuesday and go from there.”