Injury Update

While two of the prime outfield prospects in the Los Angeles system have returned to duty, two major pitching hopefuls have been sidelined. Matt Kemp and Xavier Paul have recovered and joined the Vero Beach outfield but both Chuck Tiffany at Vero and Jesus Castillo at Columbus haved been shelved -- at least, temporarily.

Kemp, who had sprained his wrist during the latter stages of spring training, has come back with a rush, hitting three home runs and driving in 10 in his first eight games. Paul, however, has struggled, batting just .111. "I'm seeing the ball fine," he reported." Missing spring training really hurt. My timing is way off."

Tiffany had a mole removed from his lower back, a minor operation but one that affected the muscle area used in pitching. He could miss up to two weeks while it heals. Castillo strained his right forearm while throwing 4.2 shutout innngs on April 29 so has been backed off. Scott Elbert, who had a similar problem earlier, has come back to replace him on the Catfish roster.

Other recently injured players include outfielder Henri Stanley (muscle pull) at Las Vegas with Mike Nixon, estwhile catcher now playing left field, promoted from Vero to take his place. Mayke Cabrera (3b-DH) injured a leg at Vero with Russell Mitchell coming over from tthe extended spring camp in his stead.

In that camp, righthander Ryan Ketchner suffered a setback in his return from arm problems and will have an MRI to determine the extent. Righthander Beltran Perez, who had been obtained from Arizona in the Shawn Green deal but who hurt his pitching arm in spring training, is throwing again while two others, righthander Steve Nelson and lefthander Chad Bailey, are taking regular turns trying to build up their arm strength so they can join teams.