The Dodgers finish their homestand with a three-game series against the Padres, starting Monday night. Here are the pregame notes for Monday, which include pitches Chad Billingsley and Kenley Jansen playing the waiting game.
Billingsley has not thrown a baseball since leaving his start early on August 24 with right elbow pain. It has been frustrating for Billingsley to be sidelined, especially in a pennant race.
"I've never really had an arm issue," Billingsley said. "This time of year, making a playoff push, this is something I've never gone through as far as, I can't even pick up a baseball and throw it right now."
Billingsley received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in his right elbow last week, in hopes that would help the healing. A second PRP injection has been discussed, and Billingsley will meet with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache this week to determine the next course of action.
At issue is whether or not Billingsley will need surgery, which would affect his 2013 as well. But it's not something that can be rushed, and something that likely won't be known until Billingsley is able to throw a baseball.
"The best thing for my elbow right now is getting rest. Getting the inflammation out. That's what they're doing with all the ice, and the treatment. Just letting it heal," Billingsley said. "I still want to be smart about it, but I also want to get back."
Given the time Billingsley has already gone without throwing and the limited amount of time left in the regular season, it might be more likely that Billingsley would come back in a relief role if he is able to pitch at all.
"The longer it goes, even if he starts throwing, the likelihood of seeing him again this season gets lower and lower," said manager Don Mattingly.
Whether Billingsley might join a bullpen that includes Kenley Jansen is something that will likely be known by Tuesday, when the closer will meet with team doctors to determine whether or not he can pitch again this season with his heart condition. Jansen is trying to minimize his anxiety heading into Tuesday.
"I try not to think about it. I'm trying to stay positive," Jansen said.
If Jansen is able to pitch again, he would likely be available beginning Friday in San Francisco. Mattingly said that Clayton Kershaw will start the series finale against the Giants on Sunday night, on regular rest. The Dodgers have off days Thursday and Monday, which means someone will get pushed back, likely Joe Blanton, who starts Monday's opener against the Padres.
Mattingly said that for the most part Kershaw and Josh Beckett will be on regular rest, though each will pitch on five days rest at least once. Looking ahead at the schedule, Kershaw could pitch on five days rest twice and be ready to start the series opener on October 1 against the Giants at Dodger Stadium, the final regular season series of the year.
"We know we can maneuver a little bit with the two off days coming up," Mattingly said.
Mattingly was happy for Adrian Gonzalez, who got the game-winning hit on Sunday, two innings after a sun double ended an 0-for-12 skid.
"As a hitter it feels so good when you get one of those," Mattingly said. "You're struggling and throw something out there that probably shouldn't be a hit but it is. It feels great."
Gonzalez has impressed Mattingly in their limited time together, especially in his approach.
"I know he's got a great feel for what he's doing. Talking hitting with him, he knows exactly what he's doing up there, what he's trying to do, the reasons he's trying to do something," Mattingly said. "He's just solid. He's a joy really for me."
Gonzalez was the last Padre to drive in six runs in a game, doing so May 19, 2010 at Dodger Stadium, until Sunday, that is. Chase Headley drove in six runs at Coors Field, and has been on fire since the All-Star break.
Headley has hit .308/.372/.573 with 15 home runs and 47 runs batted in since the break. He's tied with Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols for most home runs in MLB during that span, and Headley is second in RBI.
Gonzalez is first in baseball with 49 RBI in 46 games, hitting .311/.355/.541 during that span.
Carlos Quentin was originally scheduled to bat cleanup and play left field for San Diego, but he was scratched with right knee irritation. Chris Denorfia is now in left field, batting fifth for the Padres.
|RF||Venable (L)||LF||Victorino (S)|
|3B||Headley (S)||1B||Gonzalez (L)
Game Time: 5:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket