Elbow irritation puts LA's Belisario on DL
Doctors find no structural damage in exam of reliever
NEW YORK -- Doctors found no structural damage in the right elbow of rookie Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and replaced by Cory Wade, who was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.
"It's good news," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Structurally, there's no problem. He has irritation in the elbow. The treatment now is no treatment. They'll keep him from doing anything for about a week and then re-evaluate. From what [trainer] Stan [Conte] told me, he had more freedom today [during the examination in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache]."
Nonetheless, the injury to the workhorse right-hander elevates the importance of bolstering the bullpen to the pre-Trade Deadline shopping list of general manager Ned Colletti, a list that always starts with improving the starting pitching.
Belisario, who had Tommy John elbow reconstruction and missed the entire 2005 and '06 seasons, leads the team with 43 appearances after coming out of nowhere in Spring Training to make the Opening Day roster 10 years after signing his first professional contract.
He had worked 13 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings over 12 games before giving up three runs in one-third of an inning on Saturday night in San Diego.
Torre said rookie James McDonald, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning Tuesday night, will become the primary seventh-inning reliever when needed to set the stage for Ramon Troncoso in the eighth inning and closer Jonathan Broxton in the ninth.
Wade will be used earlier or in games the Dodgers trail. Wade was recalled in large part because he's already on the 40-man roster, but he had been demoted on June 26 with a 5.88 ERA and made only two appearances for Albuquerque, allowing two runs in three innings.
"His velocity was consistent and he only needed 25 pitches for the two innings, an indication he's OK," Torre said. "We'll keep him in the middle somewhere. Right now, I'm comfortable with J-Mac. We were fortunate last night we didn't use Troncoso or especially Broxton, who threw a lot of pitches Sunday."
Torre was non-committal on the future of rehabbing pitcher Jason Schmidt, who allowed four runs in six innings at Triple-A on Tuesday night. Schmidt has time for one more start Sunday before his rehab assignment expires and the club must make a decision on him.
"His velocity was OK," Torre said. "We'll take a look. He didn't go backward. We'll evaluate and see if it makes sense to continue or cut it off again."
Schmidt last pitched in the Major Leagues more than two years ago, having two shoulder operations since. In seven Minor League appearances this year at two levels, he's a combined 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 13 walks in 39 1/3 innings.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.