April 2009

Pierre Bats Ninth

The Dodgers lineup for Wednesday night against the Giants has pitcher Eric Stults batting eighth and Juan Pierre batting ninth and starting in center field for Matt Kemp. — Ken Gurnick

Milton Seems Ready

Eric Milton pitched well enough in his last two wins to be named the Pacific Coast League’s pitcher of the week. Milton accepted a temporary Minor League assignment at the end of Spring Training to rebuild arm strength after missing 1 1/2 seasons with Tommy John surgery and it looks like he’s accomplished that with back-to-back six-inning outings. James McDonald’s spot is the one most tenuous after another shaky start in Colorado Saturday night. Milton’s original contract provided for an opt-out if Milton wasn’t in the Major Leagues when the season started, but he agreed to extend that for a month. — Ken Gurnick

Mazone’s Pain in the Butt

Brian Mazone, who made a stunning run at the situational lefty relief job until the last week of the exhibition season, then pretty much disappeared, is throwing again. Mazone developed an abcess on his right buttock that became badly infected. The treatment required a wound to be left open to prevent a recurring infection, but it also prevented Mazone from pitching. It’s now healed enough that he’s back on a mound in extended Spring Training. He had the best stats of any reliever in camp – 10 appearances, eight innings, one earned run on three hits. And he put together the best Spring under the worst circumstances, with his mother hospitalized with a serious infection. The 32-year-old Mazone has spent 11 years in professional baseball, but not one official day in the Major Leagues. — Ken Gurnick

Young Traded to Pirates

The Dodgers are trading switch-hitting outfielder Delwyn Young to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two players to be named, according to a baseball source. Young was designated for assignment Monday to make room on the 40-man roster for infielder Juan Castro, who replaced Blake DeWitt. Young had been on a rehab assignment while on the disabled list recovering from last year’s elbow surgery. Young, 26, was a fourth-round pick in 2002. — Ken Gurnick

Castro to L.A., DeWitt to Alb.

The Dodgers are expected to announce before Monday’s game that 23-year-old infielder Blake DeWitt will be sent to Triple-A Albuquerque and replaced on the Dodgers roster by 36-year-old utilityman Juan Castro. The Dodgers apparently feel DeWitt’s development will be hindered if he sits on the bench behind infielders Casey Blake, Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson rather than plays every day at Triple-A. A 40-man roster move to make room for Castro is in the works.

— Ken Gurnick 

Kuroda Might Not Start Saturday

Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda might be scratched from his scheduled start Saturday against the Diamondbacks, apparently because of a strained left side muscle. Eric Stults was scratched from his scheduled start for Triple-A Albuquerque in case a roster move is needed. Kuroda met with manager Joe Torre after a brief workout Friday to discuss whether he would start. Kuroda, who apparently suffered the injury while beating the Padres and ace Jake Peavy Opening Day, loosened up with some long toss four hours before Friday’s game and moved to the bullpen to throw off the mound, but made only four throws before shutting it down. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Injury Update

Disabled pitcher Jason Schmidt pitched five innings in an extended Spring Training game Wednesday and spoke to manager Joe Torre by phone afterward. “He threw just blah,” Torre said. “He sounded all right. He made fun of himself. He said he threw harder as a teenager. But nothing hurts. Honey (pitching coach Rick Honeycutt) suggested we give him an extra day or two. He threw 89 pitches.”

Schmidt will remain in extended Spring Training until he’s ready for a Minor League rehab assignment.

Delwyn Young, out with irritation of his surgically repaired elbow, has been playing in extended Spring Training games. He is eligible to be activated Saturday, but instead will probably start a Minor League rehab assignment.

The Dodgers also announced they had re-signed former suppplemental first-round pick Greg Miller to a Minor League contract and he will report to Single-A Inland Empire. He was released earlier this week to clear a 40-man roster spot. — Ken Gurnick

Roster Still Not Set

Four hours before first pitch Monday, the Dodgers roster still wasn’t set. They were expected to purchase the contracts of pitchers Will Ohman and Ronald Belisario and infielder Doug Mientkiewicz, but hadn’t cleared 40-man roster space yet. Delwyn Young was expected to go on the disabled list. What happens to Claudio Vargas remains to be seen. He hasn’t pitched in two weeks because of an elbow condition, although the club hasn’t confirmed a specific diagnosis. — Ken Gurnick