The eight-game losing streak, the longest by a Joe Torre-managed team since the 1982 Atlanta Braves, is over, Don’t overlook tonight’s contribution from Hong-Chih Kuo, who was dazzling. He struck out five of the seven batters he faced after entering with a man on second, a run in and nobody out in relief of Chad Billingsley in the eighth. That saved the Dodgers from having to use any other relievers. … By the way, Billingsley won’t start again until next Saturday against the Snakes because Derek Lowe, who pitches tonight, will go Friday night on normal rest because of the off-day Thursday. … Manny Ramirez reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances before grounding out in the ninth inning. Remarkably, this is the first time in his 16-year career that he has had back-to-back, four-hit games. … Dodgers go to 66-70 and pull within 3 1/2 of the Snakes.
Joe Torre said before the game that although Jason Schmidt is going to make another rehab appearance in the Las Vegas season finale on Monday, he isn’t going to pitch for the Dodgers this year. He will rejoin the club after Monday and maybe do some simulated games, or he may pitch some games in the Arizona Instructional League this fall. His velocity was mostly in the high 80s last night against Colorado Springs, when he pitched one inning. … Andruw Jones is back in Los Angeles seeing Dr. ElAttrache because his leg is still bothering him, but he is expected to rejoin the Dodgers and be activated in time for the homestand opener on Monday against the Pods. … The list of players the Dodgers plan to activate or call up from the minors on Monday just keeps getting longer. It now includes Jones, Scott Proctor, Chin-lung Hu, A.J. Ellis, Delwyn Young, James McDonald, Eric Stults and Clayton Kershaw. There could be others. … I talked with DeJon Watson before the game about Greg Miller, and he says the organization is still firmly committed to him. “Yes, we are still committed to Greg Miller,” he said. “We will exhause all our energy to get him back on track and to where he needs to be, with a repeatable delivery that he can sustain.”
This isn’t necessarily a career-ending injury, but given that he probably was going to retire anyway, given that he has been playing with this degenerative tear in the cartilage of his left knee for about a month knowing all the while it could tear more severely at any time (and probably would, eventually, and that appears to be exactly what happened), and given that this is a wear-and-tear injury that is fairly normal for a 40-year-old guy trying to play baseball on an everyday basis for six months, it seems unlikely that he’ll return.
“Knowing him, I can’t say that for sure,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
Indeed, Kent is known for his durability, his scrappiness and his willingness to play hurt. But he was said to be in excruciating pain when he came out of the game last night. He is back in Los Angeles now awaiting an MRI that will hopefully be done either tonight or tomorrow — club officials are trying to find a hospital where it can be done on a holiday weekend. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Kent tries to play again. But from what I am told, if he does, the same thing is very likely to happen again, only more severely.
There also is a chance the MRI will show nothing other than, again, wear and tear, and Kent can be back out there in a few days. But the fact the pain was severe enough to get him to take a seat has to mean something. Kent generally doesn’t take a seat for anything other than the manager giving him a day off.
Unfortunately, it probably means the end of a Hall of Fame career. Torre said Blake DeWitt will get the first crack at the everyday 2B job for the rest of the season. It also is very possible Kent could be placed on the 60-day DL next week to clear a 40-man roster spot for the September roster expansion, because the Dodgers appear to need spots.
Just to clarify, Kent has never said this will be his last season. But it was generally assumed by just about everybody, including Torre.
“I think he was just trying to help us win a pennant,” Torre said. “All the hinting seemed to say that this probably was going to be it for him. I really respect what he has done here, and I have been very comfortable with our relationship. He is a pro. I guess that is the only way you can categorize it.”