The move was made after the game, in which he ate up 2 1/3 innings to save the bullpen from further decimation after the short start by Eric Stults. Elbert wound up posting a 7.11 ERA in three starts since his April 18 callup from Choo-Choo town, and one of those netted his first big-league win. This move clearly was made to clear a roster spot for Cory Wade, but Joe Torre said after the game that Wade won’t be activated until they have one final conversation with him tomorrow just to make sure he is fine. I should have known something was up when I saw traveling secretary Scott Akasaki having a lengthy conversation with Elbert in the clubhouse after the game.
Joe Torre hinted at two things after the game.
First, when KABC’s Josh Suchon asked him about the way Eric Milton, Jeff Weaver and Shawn Estes have been pitching in Triple-A, Torre SEEMED to say one or more of those guys might be in the rotation soon — especially with Stults, McDonald and Kershaw having given up a combined 19 ER in 12 1/3 IP this time through the rotation.
“We would certainly like to do something that gives us just a little more depth and maybe a little more length,” Torre said.
Then, when a couple of Taiwanese reporters asked Joe about Kuo’s status after Kuo finally turned in a solid performance tonight — he pitched a perfect fifth inning with the Dodgers trailing 5-0, the exact sort of situation Joe had been trying to find to get him into — Joe said Kuo eventually will be the eighth-inning setup guy again.
“Kuo was good,” Torre said. “Hopefully, we can build on that. He ideally can pitch the eighth inning, and I wouldn’t be afraid to have him close if Broxton is unavailable. But I think we’re probably a few outings away from putting him back in that spot.”
Tim Lincecum was simply too much for the boys tonight. That’s about all you can say about this one. Dodgers fall to 14-8, still lead the Pods by 2 1/2 and start an 11-game homestand with a four-game series against the Pods beginning tomorrow night. James McDonald against Josh Geer at 7:10. Oh, and Friday night’s fireworks them is Vegas Night.
Torre said the main reason he wanted JP to bat ninth is that if he gets on base, he will have a better chance to steal with Rafael Furcal at th plate than with Eric Stults batting. JP had a funny comment about the whole thing when asked if Joe had explained to him why he was batting ninth.
“I would be willing to bat 11th as long as I’m in that lineup,” he said. “He doesn’t have to explain anything to me.”
Also, Cory Wade was fine today after his one-inning rehab start at IE last night. He will be activated before tomorrow’s game, and it seems probable that Scott Elbert will be sent out to make room. And speaking of the minor leagues, Shawn Estes has pitched his way onto the organizational radar. He threw six shutout innings for ABQ last night and is now 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA — and just four walks in 19 innings — in four starts. The Dodgers now have three veteran major-leaguers down there in Estes, Eric Milton and Jeff Weaver, all of whom are viable candidates to help this club sometime this season, assuming enough 40-man roster spots can be cleared.