8/5/2014 9:22 P.M. ET
Paco lands on DL, the latest hit to Dodgers' bullpen
By Michael Lananna and Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' pitching situation worsened on Tuesday when left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a teres major strain (near his left shoulder), three days after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.
Rodriguez was replaced by right-hander Pedro Baez, the Dodgers' No. 11 prospect. It's his third recall this year.
Rodriguez pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Dodgers Sunday after being recalled to replace Paul Maholm, who was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered Friday night.
It was the first time this year Rodriguez pitched two innings and he didn't bounce back well. On Monday he said he was sore and played pregame catch under the watch of vice president of medical services Stan Conte. At the time, Rodriguez said he didn't think it was serious.
But Rodriguez said Tuesday that he felt the muscle knot up after that catch and went for an MRI exam, which revealed the strain.
"It's terribly disappointing," Rodriguez said. "It's just one of those things where I want to come back up and help out in whatever way possible. And when something like that happens you just don't know what to tell yourself at that point. And you're mentally frustrated and you're upset with yourself, because for me I felt like I didn't do enough to keep myself healthy. It's another learning curve in my whole career."
The injury is the same one that sidelined Clayton Kershaw for a month earlier this year.
"They said it wasn't as bad as Kersh's," Rodriguez said. "It was the same kind of diagnosis. Hopefully, it's 15 to 20 days."
Rodriguez hopes to begin a throwing program in three to five days, after the swelling has gone down.
Any injury is serious to the Dodgers and their bullpen. They've already lost Chris Withrow for the season to Tommy John surgery. Chris Perez went on the disabled list Monday with bone spurs in his ankle, which have bothered him for several months. Stephen Fife is on the Albuquerque disabled list with arm issues. Onelki Garcia hasn't pitched this year after elbow and knee operations. Scott Elbert is still in Albuquerque trying to return from three elbow operations.
Javy Guerra was claimed off waivers by the White Sox and is in their big league bullpen. Rule 5 Draft pick Seth Rosin also was claimed off waivers and now is in the Phillies' Minor League system.
Manager Don Mattingly said the injuries will give younger pitchers a chance to make an impression. Carlos Frias, who was called up Monday after Perez went on the disabled list, pitched two scoreless innings in his Major League debut. And Baez will begin his third stint with the Dodgers this season.
"You see Carlos last night, it opens the door for him to get opportunities to go," Mattingly said. "He looked pretty good. Pedro, as he's come in and filled in, he's thrown the ball well, and he's a guy with a quality arm.
"We're testing our depth a little bit, with the young guys, but it's an opportunity for them to step up and show something."
Mattingly hopes Puig learns and moves on
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is looking at Monday night's baserunning moment with Yasiel Puig and Albert Pujols strictly through a baseball lens -- as a teaching moment for his young center fielder.
He hopes it doesn't turn into anything bigger. He certainly won't add any fuel to the fire.
"That part I don't get involved with," Mattingly said. "I see both sides of this thing. I'm always going to fight for my guy, but I can see both sides of it. There's no reason to stir things up. The guys will take care of it."
Mattingly is more concerned with the play of Puig, who has only been at center field for a couple of weeks. He's clearly shown enough to stay at the position, but then there have been plays like Monday night's -- when Puig casually caught a fly ball, took his time throwing the ball in and allowed Pujols to tag and advance from first base.
Mattingly's worries are more with the mental side of Puig's game than the physical side.
"I don't worry about dropping [the ball]," Mattingly said. "I just worry about the awareness more than anything else. If he comes up throwing, it just stops. It doesn't happen.
"Yasiel's got a unique way of getting rid of the ball, if you watch how he goes from the one side to the other and the way he loads it. You worry sometimes if he gets low or off to the side. But as much as anything, I worry about the thought process of taking for granted that he's not going to run, and that where we have to make sure he continues to learn."
• Left fielder Carl Crawford entered Tuesday's game hitting .155 in 58 at-bats since coming off of the disabled list July 11. But Mattingly said he thinks Crawford is swinging better than his numbers show.
"I think Carl's been actually swinging the bat OK," he said. "I know he hasn't had a lot of hits since the break, but he's really looked to break down every at-bat. … Carl keeps fighting. he keeps competing. And Carl's one of those guys who can get hot, so he's going to find that."
• Mattingly said he remains committed to Josh Beckett and Dan Haren at the back end of the starting rotation, but that doesn't mean general manager Ned Colletti isn't looking for improvements.
"I think we're still expecting Danny and Josh to pitch well," Mattingly said. "But with that being said, Ned, his job is to worry about all of those little things that could happen or if things aren't going well, so I'm sure Ned's scouting and talking to people all the time to make sure that we're going to be in the best position."
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter and Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.