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Juan Rivera Headed For Disabled List With Significant Left Hamstring Strain

Juan Rivera said he first experienced issues with his left hamstring when making a play in the outfield in Milwaukee last month.
Juan Rivera said he first experienced issues with his left hamstring when making a play in the outfield in Milwaukee last month.

Before the Dodgers battle the Giants in the finale of their three-game series Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, they will place Juan Rivera on the disabled list with a significant hamstring strain just behind his left knee.

Rivera felt something in his left leg while sliding into third base in the seventh inning of Tuesday's game. Rivera said the training staff wants to make sure he is 100% before returning, which seems likely to take longer than a two-week stint on the DL.

"It sounds like it's going to be a little longer than a little shorter," manager Don Mattingly said.

Rivera also was held out of the starting lineup for six games after straining his left hamstring on April 24 against the Atlanta Braves. Rivera said he first experienced problems with his hamstring this season while making a play in the outfield when the club was in Milwaukee to battle the Brewers.

Scott Van Slyke is on his way to Los Angeles, and the Dodgers hope he arrives at Dodger Stadium sometime before the game tonight. Van Slyke was hitting .336/.411/.623 with eight home runs in 32 games for Triple A Albuquerque.

"The guy we're bringing is swinging the bat the best out of that position," Mattingly said before the game. "We talked to guys that get sent out, who's swinging the bat the best will get the call. It's a competition at all points."

Van Slyke figures to see time in both left field and at first base, especially against left-handed pitching. In the last two years in Triple A, Van Slyke hit .351/.428/.626 against southpaws, with nine home runs in 201 plate appearances (thanks to Minor League Central for the splits).

"We're still getting quite a few lefties, and it's still an area that we have had trouble with," Mattingly said.

Bobby Abreu will also see more time in left field, but Mattingly doesn't want to overuse the 38-year old.

"I'm not looking at him as an every day guy," said Mattingly. "Obviously with Juan Rivera down, the opportunities are there for him. He's an easy guy to put in the lineup because he's going to give you good at-bats."

The Dodgers face two left-handed pitchers over the weekend with the Colorado Rockies in town, with Jamie Moyer slated to pitch Friday and Drew Pomeranz on Sunday. As Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts astutely pointed out, Andy Van Slyke was 4-for-19 with a double, a home run, two walks, and seven strikeouts against Moyer.

Hairston to Have MRI

Jerry Hairston Jr. is also dealing with a left hamstring injury, one that has sidelined him for the first two games of this series. Hairston was making progress since straining his hamstring on Sunday, but regressed today. He was sent to have an MRI before tonight's game, and pending the results could join Rivera on the disabled list.

"Jerry is not as good as we'd like. He was getting better, and we were willing to give him some time," Mattingly said. "There are only so many days we're going to be able to go. We can't keep going short."

Should Hairston have to go on the DL, Justin Sellers is a logical candidate to replace him. We might know more about Hairston's MRI results after the game.

Starting Lineups

Mattingly said he is using Thursday's off day to give Mark Ellis two days off to keep him fresh while only missing one game, and will likely do the same by sitting A.J. Ellis on Friday.

Giants Dodgers
CF Blanco SS Gordon
2B Burriss 2B Kennedy
LF Cabrera CF Kemp
C Posey RF Ethier
1B Belt LF Abreu
RF Schierholtz
3B Uribe
3B Arias 1B Loney
SS Crawford C Ellis
P Lincecum P Billingsley

Game Time: 7:10 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday