Injured Beimel ruled out for NLDS
Reliever off roster after cutting his hand on broken glass
NEW YORK -- The freak injury suffered on Tuesday morning by Dodgers reliever Joe Beimel kept him off the roster for the National League Division Series, which opens on Wednesday against the Mets.
The roster submitted by the 10 a.m. ET deadline included rookie Chad Billingsley as a replacement for Beimel, who suffered a bloody gash to his pitching hand when a water glass shattered in his hotel bathroom sink.
Beimel, with 10 stitches in his finger and hand, threw in the bullpen on Wednesday morning and had "no pain and good stuff," according to trainer Stan Johnston, but the wound continued to bleed. Because of safety issues, if that happened in a game he would be required to leave, and the club decided "it wasn't worth the risk," Johnston said.
Instead, Beimel flew home to California and was scheduled see a Century City plastic surgeon to have the wound closed with a layered stitching procedure that, in a best-case scenario, might have him available for a second round of playoffs.
In addition to Billingsley, the 10-man pitching staff consists of Game 1 starter Derek Lowe, Game 2 starter Hong-Chih Kuo, Game 3 starter Greg Maddux, Game 4 starter Brad Penny and relievers Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Brett Tomko, Mark Hendrickson and Aaron Sele.
With the injury to Beimel, Hendrickson is the only left-hander in the bullpen initially, and manager Grady Little said he would use him in the situations against left-handed hitters previously handled by Beimel.
"We're not scared to do that," Little said. "In Games 4 and 5, we'll have [Game 2 starter Hong-Chih] Kuo in the 'pen also, as we do [Game 4 starter Brad] Penny today."
Little said the Beimel loss was a significant hurdle, but not an insurmountable one.
"It's something we don't like because of what he's meant to our team," he said. "It's just another stumbling block like a lot of others we've had and we will overcome it, because the clubhouse is filled with guys who have a will to win and who hate to lose."
The injury to Beimel removes a key element in a bullpen that has been instrumental in the club's postseason run, especially considering the season-long inability of starters to pitch deep into games. Beimel was effective enough against right-handed hitters that he often pitched multiple innings.
Beimel went 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA and two saves, including Sunday's regular-season finale. He appeared in 62 games with 70 innings and had a 1.32 ERA over the final month of the season. He pitched 2 1/3 innings against the Mets this year without allowing a run.
Little said he chose Billingsley over Elmer Dessens to replace Beimel.
"It was a tough call, but as we've been doing our business all season long, instead of looking at righties or lefties, we're going with the best stuff," Little said.
The position players on the roster were exactly as Little explained during Tuesday's workout. Included is rookie first baseman James Loney, who provides insurance for banged-up starting first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, who is nursing injuries to an oblique muscle, left quad and right knee. Garciaparra aggravated the oblique on Friday night and did not play the final two games of the regular season. However, he said he felt considerably better while taking batting practice Tuesday.
The 15 position players are outfielders J.D. Drew, Kenny Lofton, Marlon Anderson, Andre Ethier, Jason Repko; infielders Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, Wilson Betemit, Julio Lugo, Ramon Martinez, Olmedo Saenz and Loney; catchers Russell Martin and Toby Hall.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.