Eovaldi Might Figure in 2012 Dodgers Plans

Nathan Eovaldi didn't guarantee himself a job in the Dodgers' 2012 starting rotation on Wednesday night. But in giving up two runs in six innings against a good-hitting Brewers team, his third straight solid outing since a call-up from the minors, he's clearly in the mix for a rotation job. The Brewers beat the Dodgers 3-1 and will seek a four-game sweep on Thursday.

The Brewers are sixth in the league in runs, third in home runs and second in OPS. They're even more dangerous at home at Miller Park. This is a team headed for the playoffs, the hottest in baseball with 19 wins in its last 21 games, and Eovaldi more than held his own.

Eovaldi dueled with former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke for five innings, neither pitcher allowing a run.

In the sixth, Eovaldi loaded the bases with one out, via two walks sandwiched around a single. He retired Yuniesky Betancourt on a flyball to shallow center for the second out. He had two strikes on Jerry Hairston Jr. before giving up a two-run single for the game's first runs on his 97th and final pitch.

Eovaldi has made three starts in the majors: at Arizona, vs. Houston, and at Milwaukee. He has given up four runs in 17 innings for a 2.12 ERA. He has given up 11 hits, walked nine and struck out 12.

The Dodgers' rotation next season figures to consist of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly for sure. They will need two more starters plus some depth.

Hiroki Kuroda is a free agent and could return to Japan, but the Dodgers would love to convince him to stay for a fifth year in the United States. If he doesn't, they'll need to acquire a starter from the free agent market or through a trade.

Eovaldi would be an ideal fifth starter, especially since he'd be making the major league minimum, and they could limit his innings by skipping him at times. He'd never thrown more than 100 innings as a professional before this year. He's now at 120 innings, including the minors, and will likely get shut down around 140 innings.

The Dodgers thought they'd have Rubby De La Rosa for a spot in the rotation, but he's out until August 2012 after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.

NOTES, QUOTES
--C Dioner Navarro allowed two wild pitches in the seventh inning, allowing Jonathan Lucroy to advance two bases from first to third and then score a run for a 3-0 lead. Both times, Navarro failed to move his body to get in front of the ball, instead trying to backhand the ball. Navarro later threw out a runner trying to steal second base.

--CF Matt Kemp reached safely on an infield single in the eighth inning, extending his modest hitting streak to seven games. He has had at least one hit in 21 of the last 23 games.

--3B Casey Blake departed in the sixth inning because of a right shoulder injury. Blake has been on the disabled list three times this year already, most recently with neck pain. Since coming off the disabled list on July 30, Blake was 13-for-48 (.271) with one extra-base hit (a double) and 10 strikeouts.

--INF Juan Uribe had a cortisone shot to reduce inflammation and numb the area in his lower left hip. The Dodgers originally diagnosed the injury as a hip flexor, based on an MRI result, but now say it's more in the lower abdominal area. In a few days, the Dodgers will know if the shot helped and what's the next step. Uribe is doubtful to return until rosters expand in September.

--RHP Kenley Jansen will made a rehab appearance Sunday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga and probably again on Tuesday, which would make him ready to come off the disabled list Aug. 26. He's been sidelined while on blood thinners after feeling an irregular heartbeat after pitching in a game.

BY THE NUMBERS: 347 -- Plate appearances between home runs for Tony Gwynn Jr. Before his solo home run in the seventh inning Wednesday, his previous home run was an inside-the-park homer on July 17, 2010. In fact, each of Gwynn's two previous homers were inside-the-park. Gwynn's last home run over the fence was April 23, 2010. That makes 574 plate appearances between home runs over the fence.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It kind of made me mad. We were the second-chance club. We always would bring in guys that had problems somewhere else. I had been on the team for 6-7 years, never been out late, played hurt, in on time, no controversy. I'm thinking, 'You're going to tell me an hour and a half before the game if I don't cut my hair I don't play? I thought about it and said, 'You know what? I'm not playing.' If someone would have said, 'Go get your hair cut,' I would have said, 'OK.' It was just the demand. I felt like I had never done anything but played hard. Whatever they asked, I did." -- Manager Don Mattingly, on the 20-year anniversary this week of getting benched for the length of his hair. The incident was spoofed on an episode of The Simpsons.

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