Four Batters, Two Injuries Sunday

The exasperation in Don Mattingly's voice and body language is warranted. Injuries are part of the game, he reiterates often. "No excuses" was the mantra in spring training, and he repeats that over and over. But this is ridiculous. Three more players were injured over the weekend, including two within four batters on Sunday in an 8-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Right fielder Andre Ethier ran into the fence trying to make a catch of Juan Pierre's drive in the fourth inning. The next batter hit a blooper that dropped between Ethier and second baseman Jamey Carroll, and when Ethier ran gingerly, he was removed.

Two batters later, catcher Rod Barajas was trying to tag out Pierre on a sacrifice fly. Matt Kemp's strong throw was a one-hopper, forcing Barajas to catch the ball behind home plate. When he lunged forward to apply the tag, Pierre's cleats arrived at the same time. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the next inning.

X-rays were negative on both players, and they will be re-evaluated Monday in Houston. Ethier's injury were listed as a right elbow contusion, lower right back contusion and left big toe sprain. Barajas is listed with a right wrist strain.

The bullpen already has four key weapons disabled: Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Vicente Padilla and Blake Hawksworth -- plus Ronald Belisario never showed up.

The starting left side of the infield, Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake, has missed over a month on the DL. Furcal missed 37 games, returned on Sunday, and Juan Uribe took his place on the DL after leaving Friday's game with a strained lower abdominal.

Hawksworth missed the first five games with a back injury, returned for two weeks, and now has missed another 25 games and counting, including Sunday. He will start a rehab assignment Monday with Class AAA Albuquerque. Fill-in infielder Aaron Miles wasn't available all weekend with rib cage soreness. The Dodgers could get away with having two infielders unavailable when there was a designated hitter, but can't do that this week in Houston when the pitcher needs to hit.

A decision is due soon on Miles. The Dodgers have nine infielders on the 40-man roster. The only one not active or on the DL is Ivan De Jesus Jr.

"Something's got to give," Mattingly said. "We've just got to find out. I'd like to buy Miles another day, but it may not help even if I give him until Monday."

Padilla's trip to the DL this week was the Dodgers 14th this year. Uribe was the 15th. Miles, Ethier or Barajas are all candidates to become the 16th.

--RHP Hiroki Kuroda's 14 2/3 scoreless innings streak ended quickly Sunday. He allowed a two-run homer to Alexei Ramirez, the second batter of the game. A.J. Pierzynski homered later in the inning, and Kuroda allowed six runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings.

--SS Rafael Furcal returned from the disabled list Sunday and went 0-for-5 with a throwing error that led to the two unearned runs. Furcal played four rehab games for Class AAA Albuquerque from May 14-17 to rehab a fractured left thumb. He didn't play the next four days as the team checked out a knee bruise when he slid into second base in his final rehab game. He struck out three times, including with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh inning.

--INF Juan Uribe (strained left hip flexor) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. He left Saturday's game in the seventh inning after injuring himself in the third.

--RHP Jon Garland faced his former White Sox teammates Saturday, giving up six runs in the fourth inning and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. The last time a Dodgers starter didn't go at least five innings was April 23. It was the most runs allowed by a Dodgers starting pitcher this year. Garland said a blister on his thumb had no impact, although he rarely threw his curveball.

--LF Jerry Sands connected on his first career home run Saturday in his 83rd at-bat and 96th plate appearance. It came in the sixth inning, on a 1-0 pitch from Mark Buehrle, and was the first by a Dodgers left fielder this year. Sands also threw out his fifth baserunner this year in the fourth inning of Saturday's game, nabbing Paul Konerko as he tried going first to third. The Dodgers have 14 outfield assists as a team. A more relaxed Sands laced three singles to left field in Sunday's game, and ripped a double to right-center.

--1B James Loney has a modest eight-game hitting streak, after a single in the second inning and a double in the fifth. Loney's still mostly a singles hitter though. He has six doubles and one home run, so his slugging percentage is .292 now. Loney's slugging percentage has dropped every year since he was a rookie in 2006: .559, .538, .434, .399, .395 and now .280 this year.

--RHP Rubby De La Rosa, the top pitching prospect in the organization, was lifted after two innings from his start Saturday at Class AA Chattanooga. It wasn't because of an injury, fueling speculation that he was headed to the majors. The Dodgers say they are just monitoring his innings. The Dodgers bullpen has been besieged with injuries, but De La Rosa is next in line to join the starting rotation if an injury were to occur.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 -- Dodgers pitchers to record a save this month. Mike MacDougal became the latest, when he got the final out Friday. The others are the disabled Jonathan Broxton and Vicente Padilla, plus Kenley Jansen and Matt Guerrier.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It doesn't happen very often. There was definitely a lot of shaking off (of signs) and stepping off (the mound). I was calling the game I normally do and obviously he had different pitches (in mind) than what I was calling. It was definitely not our smoothest game." -- C Rod Barajas, after RHP Jon Garland allowed seven runs on 12 baserunners in 3.2 innings Saturday.

--RF Andre Ethier (bruised right elbow, bruised lower back, sprained big toe) was removed from the May 22 game after running into a fence. X-rays were negative.
--C Rod Barajas (right wrist strain) left the May 22 game after he was spiked while trying to make a tag at home plate. X-rays were negative.
--SS Rafael Furcal (broken left thumb) went on the 15-day disabled list April 12. He took batting practice May 7, and he began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Albuquerque on May 14. He was activated May 22.
--INF Juan Uribe (strained left hip flexor) was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 22.
--RHP Vicente Padilla (stiff right forearm) went on the 15-day disabled list May 14. He might return in late May or early June.
--RHP Blake Hawksworth (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 11. He will pitch May 23 and May 25 for Class A Rancho Cucamonga, and he could return to the Dodgers in late May. --LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (anxiety disorder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 10. How long he will be out is a mystery. The exact issues affecting Kuo also are a mystery.
--RHP Jonathan Broxton (bone bruise on right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 4. He is expected to be out until mid-June.
--OF Marcus Thames (strained right quad) went on the 15-day disabled list May 3.
--3B Casey Blake (staph infection in left elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 25. He might begin a rehab assignment May 22 with Class AAA Albuquerque.
--C Hector Gimenez (sore right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 9. He had arthroscopic surgery April 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 13.

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