Ted Lilly’s most glaring fault Monday night wasn’t getting shelled for three innings before having to exit a 12-2 loss to the Rockies with back pain. It was the silence the Dodgers starter maintained about tightness in his back since making his first start of the season five days earlier.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was none too pleased to discover after the series opener against the Rockies that Lilly, who began the season one the disabled list due to left shoulder labrum surgery, hadn’t informed the Dodgers training staff of his ailment following a five-inning outing against the Mets a week ago in which he only allowed one run.
“He can’t just keep that to himself,” Mattingly said. “Then at least we know going in to the game that we possibly should have a guy that can go four or five innings, instead of having to use the whole group.”
When Skip Schumaker was tipped off after Monday’s seventh inning he might be called on to pitch, he was already tired – from playing second base.
The fifth Dodgers reliever in the 12-2 loss to the Rockies was a part-time closer at UC-Santa Barbara and a starting pitcher at Aliso Niguel High School.
“I wasn’t very good but I could throw hard. Everybody said I was a one-tool player – I could throw,” Schumaker said. “I grew up a Dodgers fan watching Orel (Hershiser), so to be on the same mound he was, was pretty neat.”
Chris Capuano continued to throw Monday at Dodger Stadium and is expected to start for the Albuquerque Isotopes on Wednesday. It’s the only rehab start Capuano is expected to make before he is activated from the disabled list. The left-hander strained his left calf covering first base on April 16.
Zack Greinke threw off flat ground from approximately 90-100 feet Monday as he continued his rehab from a fractured left clavicle. The right-hander said he’s still “just a little bit” sore 16 days after undergoing surgery to have a stabilizing metal plate inserted in the area of the clavicle: “I’m a little achy here and there.”
Greinke hasn’t swung a bat yet, saying “it’s not worth the risk,” and even cracked a joke about his swing. “It was already bad.”
Second baseman Mark Ellis is no closer to playing in a game, or being placed on the disabled list, since straining his right quadriceps on Friday. Ellis jogged a little bit Monday, said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who’s willing to play short-handed for now.
“We’ve played short before,” Mattingly said. “You can do it. Sometimes you may get 10 games. We just need to be creative and be careful with players early in the game. You can’t burn guys.”
Reinstating Hanley Ramirez from the 15-day disabled list Monday gave the Dodgers an extra infielder off the bench for Monday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
With Ellis, Mattingly said, “it’s more of a medical decision than a baseball decision right now.”
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez might play his first regular-season game of 2013 tonight against the Colorado Rockies. (Keith Birmingham/Staff photographer)
The Dodgers placed pitcher Clayton Kershaw
on the bereavement list and reinstated Hanley Ramirez
from the disabled list prior to Monday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
Ramirez was expected to be activated at some point during the Dodgers’ three-game series against the Rockies when he showed up at Dodger Stadium Monday. He pronounced himself fit to play before heading off to field ground balls and take a round of batting practice, a normal pregame routine.
Kershaw left immediately after Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers and did not take questions from reporters.
On Monday morning, NBA player Jason Collins became the first active professional athlete for a major North American team sport to come out as gay. That prompted a few questions with manager Don Mattingly before the Dodgers’ game against the Colorado Rockies.
“I’ve just seen a tick of it,” Mattingly said. “What I’ve seen, it seems like a Jackie Robinson type thing for one, crossing some barriers. It’ll be interesting to follow.”
Asked about how an openly gay player would be received on his team, Mattingly said, “I don’t know. I think it would be OK. The first time it happens, you’re in uncharted waters. A lot like Jackie, he would be making it easier for anyone else to step forward.”
But might that actually happen in Major League Baseball soon? “I don’t know,” Mattingly said. “I don’t know why not.”
The manager went on to describe how black players during Robinson’s era still had to sleep and eat in segregated facilities from their teammates, among other hardships. If Collins has a hard time gaining acceptance inside and outside the clubhouse, maybe other athletes will be discouraged from coming out.
“It’s not like the floodgates opened” for black players in Robinson’s time, Mattingly said, “but I think (Collins’ coming out) is a step in the right direction that’s going to create change.”
Passing along a couple more details about the arrest of Dodgers prospect Yasiel Puig:
According to the official report filed by the Chattanooga Police Department, Puig was driving his BMW x35i sports utility vehicle 97 mph in a 50-mph zone when he was arrested early Sunday morning. He told the arresting officer that he was the designated driver for an unnamed passenger, who translated Puig’s statement from Spanish.
As some have pointed out, Puig’s speed wasn’t even the fastest driven by a baseball player this season:
The report states that Puig’s car moved “from the left lane over the center white dash lines and then back into the left lane. The BMW came close to a vehicle that was occupying the right lane and obeying the traffic laws. It took blue lights and multiple siren blasts to get the driver to stop. … The driver was clearly driving with wanton disregard for the safety of other citizen drivers as well as himself and his passenger.”
I could have written a lot more about Clayton Kershaw for my game story from the Dodgers’ win yesterday but I didn’t (mostly) for two reasons:
1. As great as he was, Kershaw pitches like that all the time
2. He didn’t talk to reporters after the game
Kershaw’s absence was due to a “personal matter,” a team spokesperson said. As Kershaw walked down the tunnel out of the Dodgers’ clubhouse, his left shoulder appeared to be heavily wrapped under his shirt — as it typically is after each game Kershaw pitches — which merely means that the pitcher wasted little time leaving the building.
More on Kershaw in a bit. I’m highlighting the point about his shoulder because this tweet caused a bit of a stir yesterday:
Underneath that wrap was a still-healing ligament in Ramirez’s right thumb. It’s easy to assume that the hand was wrapped because Ramirez re-injured the thumb. Folks at the game said that he slid awkwardly into second base in the fifth inning. Did he do something to his thumb sliding?
Probably not. Ramirez remained in the game to play another inning in the field after the slide. He was removed in the top of the seventh inning, which is exactly when the Dodgers wanted him to leave. It’s believed that Ramirez wrapped his thumb after the game merely as a precaution, much like a pitcher who just threw 117 pitches wraps a healthy shoulder.
More Monday bullet points:
Matt Guerrier allowed two home runs in relief of Matt Magill on Saturday night, further depleting a short-handed Dodgers bullpen. (Associated Press photo)
For all the money the Dodgers have spent building their 2013 roster — about $230 million when the regular season began — they didn’t have a single pitcher available if last night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers had gone to the 12th inning.
That’s not exactly unusual. If taxed enough, any bullpen will run out of arms. The Dodgers didn’t even get to the 10th inning yesterday, but manager Don Mattingly had to line up his possibilities when the Dodgers had runners on second and third base with two outs in the ninth inning.
“I’ve got to bring Josh (Wall) back out” for the 10th inning, Mattingly said. “I’ve got one (inning) with Kenley (Jansen). Then it’s Schu.”
Authorities in Chattanooga, Tennessee arrested Dodgers prospect Yasiel Puig on charges of reckless driving, speeding and driving without proof of insurance Sunday, according to the Hamilton (Tenn.) County Sheriff.
The 22-year-old outfielder is currently on the roster of the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate, and is on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb.
Puig signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers last June after defecting from Cuba, and left a significant impression in spring training. His .517 batting average led all players in spring, and his 1.328 OPS was second, tagging Puig as a can’t-miss prospect.
“We’re aware of the situation and we take it very seriously,” a Dodgers spokesperson said. “We’ll be handling discipline internally.”
Mark Ellis was in good spirits after throwing and taking batting practice Sunday morning, two days after the Dodgers second baseman strained his right quadriceps running out a ground ball.
“So far I can swing the bat,” Ellis said. “I can throw fine. I’m still kind of day to day but I’m optimistic.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said it’s “still kind of up in the air” whether or not Ellis will go on the disabled list. To avoid the DL, Ellis needs to begin running soon.
The Dodgers have plenty of second basemen at their disposal, but fewer choices for a number-two hitter. Nick Punto‘s there today. A.J. Ellis, who caught last night’s game and batted second, gets the day off in favor of Ramon Hernandez, who is batting sixth.
None have matched the consistent production of Mark Ellis, who was hitting .342/.363/.452 at the time of the injury.
The 35-year-old, who has missed at least 30 games each of the last five seasons, is hoping to avoid the disabled list but acknowledged that “you never want to handcuff a manager or handcuff a team.”
Expect a decision in the next day or two.