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09/07/09 4:30 PM ET
Dodgers' injuries starting to pile up
Kershaw, Blake, Thome among ailing NL West leaders
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Clayton Kershaw will miss his next start with a curious injury, Casey Blake missed a third start Sunday with a tight hamstring and Jim Thome was presumed to be unavailable even for pinch-hitting after reinjuring his heel on Sunday. Kershaw, on a dominating but unproductive roll over the second half, bruised his right (non-pitching) shoulder running into the fence at Dodger Stadium shagging fly balls during batting practice Sunday, according to manager Joe Torre. Kershaw was unavailable for comment before Monday's game with Arizona. "He didn't realize how close he was to the wall," said Torre. Torre said Kershaw was examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache before Sunday's game. "The only issue for me is if he reaches for a ball," said Torre. "There's no issue throwing-wise. It's the whole package." The Dodgers had announced they were going with a six-man rotation this week. Kershaw originally was scheduled to start on Saturday in San Francisco against the Giants. Because of Thursday's off-day, Randy Wolf will start on Friday night and still be on a five-day cycle. With the extra day, Torre said he has options on how to finish out the Giants series and he has not made a decision. He could move Sunday's scheduled starter, Hiroki Kuroda, up to Saturday and follow with Vicente Padilla or Chad Billingsley, who is scheduled to start Tuesday in Phoenix and would be on a five-day cycle if he pitched on Sunday. The Dodgers were looking to give Kershaw a break to avoid overusing his 21-year-old arm, but Torre had said he was pitching too well to be skipped. He has 159 innings pitched after pitching 169 last year between Los Angeles and Double-A Jacksonville. Kershaw is 8-8 with a 2.89 ERA, ninth in the league, and a .202 opponents' batting average, which leads the league. His last win was July 18, but in the nine starts since, the Dodgers have scored eight runs of support, worst in the league. His 167 strikeouts are sixth in the league and his strikeout ratio per nine innings is fifth in the league. Torre also had Casey Blake out of the lineup for a third consecutive game with a right hamstring, replaced by Ronnie Belliard. Blake tested the leg running in the outfield before Monday's game. "When he bends over on the field it's an issue," said Torre. "It's more tight than a full-blown hammy. They'll try another form of treatment." Torre said Thome "felt a pop" in a heel that has a history of plantar fasciitis and he "probably" wouldn't be available for pinch-hitting duties on Monday. Thome is 1-for-3 pinch-hitting since his acquisition a week ago.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.