Injuries costly for two Dodgers
Mientkiewicz, Threets each need strong springs to make roster
PHOENIX -- Doug Mientkiewicz and Erick Threets had their long-shot bids to make the Dodgers derailed by injuries Saturday in a game against the Brewers.
Mientkiewicz, invited late to camp to try to break into an already crowded infield picture, strained a quad muscle coming out of the batter's box during his seventh-inning groundout. Manager Joe Torre said he will miss a week. Mientkiewicz was 2-for-16, both hits being home runs.
Threets' injury could be worse. The hard-throwing left-hander said he felt pain in his left shoulder and departed from the game in mid at-bat after striking out the first batter in the seventh inning. Threets had emerged with Stephen Randolph as leading contenders for the situational left-hander role. He had a 2.45 ERA and six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings, the highest ratio of any Dodgers pitcher this Spring.
A preliminary exam ruled out a rotator-cuff injury, but Threets said the pain he felt was similar to what he experienced at the end of 2006, when he tore a lat muscle and missed the final six weeks of the season.
"This was a similar kind of pain," Threets said. "I felt it on the previous pitch and it didn't feel right and it didn't get better on the next pitch and I didn't want to take a chance. The funny thing is, I was feeling great before that."
Torre said Threets was shaking when he reached the mound.
Threets' injury further clouds the Dodgers' bullpen situation, which already was murky. Hong-Chih Kuo and Cory Wade are behind because of injuries; James McDonald, Ramon Troncoso and Scott Elbert have struggled, and Jonathan Broxton has been away at the World Baseball Classic.
Torre, however, could take solace in an effective start from Clayton Kershaw, who allowed a long solo home run to Lorenzo Cain and a run that could have been prevented with better defense. He struck out five in 3 2/3 innings and said he used 10 changeups, the most he's ever used in that many innings.
"I was throwing them for strikes," said Kershaw, determined to add a changeup he can trust to his 95-mph fastball and over-the-top curveball. "That's what I'm happiest about. The confidence factor, slowly but surely I'm gaining it."
Kershaw has 11 strikeouts and two walks in 10 1/3 innings this Spring.
Three Dodgers homered in the game -- Russell Martin, Delwyn Young and Valentino Pascucci. Juan Pierre doubled and stole two bases, giving him six steals on the Spring.
And for those keeping score at home, yes, there was a mixup in the Dodgers eighth inning, when Mitch Jones popped out for the third out as a pinch-hitter for pitcher Victor Garate, only for Garate to come back out to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning.
The mixup was triggered by Threets' injury, which required Torre to go to the bullpen earlier than he planned and relieve with Garate. A series of miscommunications that followed led to the mistake. Garate was allowed to start the eighth inning.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.