In what is becoming an almost daily occurrence, another Dodgers pitcher is hurt. Ted Lilly, who lasted just three innings in Monday's 12-2 loss to the Rockies, has stiffness in his back and will have an MRI exam on Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury.
Both Lilly and manager Don Mattingly downplayed the injury after the game.
"I think he's okay. From what I heard afterwards, he got kind of tight somewhere in his back there," Mattingly said. "It's something that he's had before. We didn't hear anything about it before the game."
Lilly said he first felt back tightness on Thursday, the day after his start in New York, when he gave up one run in five innings to the Mets. But he didn't think it would last, as he had a similar issue that went away quickly at the beginning of the 2012 season.
"I felt a little bit the next day. But there are things that come up and then they go away. You try not to make a big deal out of little things. Most of the time they're nothing," Lilly said. "I got caught off guard. I was confident that this would get better."
Lilly said he felt the tightness very little during warmups, but during the game the problem progressed. But again, he downplayed the extent of the injury.
"I think it's just some minor stuff, minor back and neck stuff. I'm going to have it looked at tomorrow. I felt fine warming up," Lilly said. "It got a little worse as the game went on. Nowadays I expect to a point just like everyone else in this clubhouse. You go out there and do the best you can regardless of how you feel."
Lilly allowed two home runs to the first four batters, and in his three innings he allowed five runs on eight hits, and threw 71 pitches. It could have been an even shorter outing had he not convinced trainer Sue Falsone and manager Don Mattingly to remain in the game after their third inning mound visit.
"I didn't want to come out. I wanted to get out of that inning," Lilly said. "A start like that puts our club in an awfully tough spot, not only for tonight but for tomorrow and going forward. I just wanted to try and pitch as deep into the game as I could."
Lilly is scheduled to start next on Saturday in San Francisco, but with Tuesday's MRI that start could be in jeopardy. Matt Magill, who started Saturday and will be skipped Thursday, could conceivably step in if needed for a spot start, or maybe longer. But that's assuming Clayton Kershaw is back in time from the bereavement list to make his Friday start.
As we have learned with the Dodgers rotation, don't make any plans in ink. Even Mattingly wasn't ready to look as far ahead as Saturday just yet.
"We have to find out if Teddy's healthy tomorrow, and then make decisions from there," Mattingly said.
Presuming he is healthy, Hyun-jin Ryu will make the start for the Dodgers on Tuesday night, looking to last at least six innings for the sixth consecutive time. Starting for the Rockies will be the now-healthy Jorge De La Rosa, in a 7:10 p.m. game on KCAL.