Penny, Wade on DL with shoulder woes
Stults, Sturtze brought up to assist beleaguered bullpen
LOS ANGELES -- It was no surprise after Wednesday night's game, but the Dodgers' pitching staff took a double hit on Thursday when starter Brad Penny and reliever Cory Wade were placed on the 15-day disabled list.
To replace them and shore up the weary bullpen, the club recalled left-hander Eric Stults and purchased the contract of right-hander Tanyon Sturtze.
Penny, who lasted only three innings in his second start after seven weeks on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis and bursitis, went back on the shelf with a relapse. He was the Opening Day starter this year after going 16-4 last year with a 3.03 ERA. This season, he is 6-9 with a 6.05 ERA.
"It's the same thing," said Penny. "I can't even describe it. I can't tell the doctor exactly where it is, but I feel it."
Penny received a cortisone injection Thursday after telling manager Joe Torre that, despite hitting 96 mph with his fastball, there was still discomfort. Torre said Penny would be shut down for five days before resuming throwing and there was no targeted return date.
"He didn't say anything about pain, but it's freedom he doesn't have," said Torre. "He really hasn't been that [ace] guy; it's been one thing or another. He's still a young man, but he hasn't been able to go to the post with all the equipment."
Penny's next day to pitch would be Monday, a scheduled off-day, and Torre said it was possible the spot would be skipped entirely and he would go with a four-man rotation for the next cycle. However, he also said he'd like to give those four starters an extra day of rest this late in the season and suggested that Stults might get that start Tuesday night.
"Right now," said Torre, "our first concern is the bullpen."
Another rumored option as a replacement for Penny is to trade for Greg Maddux from the Padres. The Dodgers acquired him before the Trade Deadline in 2006 and made a run at him before the Trade Deadline last month.
An already beleaguered bullpen responded to Penny's three-inning start with six scoreless innings Wednesday night, but four relievers were used. Initially, both Sturtze and Stults will report to the bullpen.
Wade, an unsung rookie workhorse, also has a sore shoulder and had pitched only once since Aug. 5, allowing a home run to San Francisco's Bengie Molina on Aug. 8.
"It's an impingement. No structural damage," said Wade. "I just need rest. I had this in 2006. It's just fatigue. I'm eligible to come off the 24th and I'll be more than ready to go."
He is 2-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 52 2/3 innings over 40 appearances, having been promoted from Double-A on April 24.
"It's most important for him to get well," said Torre. "His shoulder is just nagging him a bit. We decided to take the safe route."
Stults went 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA in six starts with the Dodgers from June 19-July 21, including a four-hit shutout against the White Sox on June 25. The 28-year-old went 2-0 with a 4.70 ERA (12 ER/23.0 IP) in four starts with Las Vegas after being optioned on July 22, and is 7-6 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 starts with Vegas overall. Stults is 4-6 with a 4.78 ERA in 24 career Major League games (13 starts) over parts of the last three seasons.
Sturtze returns to the Majors for the first time since having rotator cuff surgery in May 2006. He went 1-1 with five saves and a 4.13 ERA in 21 games with Las Vegas after beginning the year with Double-A Jacksonville.
With Jacksonville, Sturtze went 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA in 18 appearances. Sturtze is a veteran of 11 Major League seasons and 269 big league games (84 starts), going 40-44 with three saves and a 5.21 ERA. He pitched in Triple-A for the Dodgers in 2004 before being dealt to the Yankees for Brian Myrow.
In other injury news, outfielders Delwyn Young and Andruw Jones begin Minor League injury rehabilitation assignments for Triple-A Las Vegas Saturday at Fresno. Young has been disabled with a strained oblique muscle since July 24 and Jones with patellar tendinitis since Aug. 10.
Catcher Gary Bennett remains sidelined since May 19 with plantar fasciitis.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.