Good News From the Rehabs

Finally, there's some heartening news amidst all the injuries suffered throughout the Dodger organization this season. Along with the word that third baseman Andy LaRoche won't be having an operation and can resume throwing there's been several encouraging performances by rehabilitating pitchers.

LaRoche suffered a tear to the labrum in his shoulder when he made a diving stop, then a throw from his knees shortly after reporting from Jacksonville to Las Vegas.

At first, it was feared it would require an operatiuon to repair, a procedure that would have effectively ended his season. However, after a week's evaluation in Los Angeles, it was determined that the tear was slight enough and his recovery has been quick enough that he'll avoid surgery.

At the time of the mishap, LaRoche had played just four games with Vegas, hitting .338 with two home runs in just four games. He'd been so impressive that they were seriously considering making him the next young hopeful to arrive in L.A.; in his case, to replace the injured Bill Mueller. However, the switching of Cesar Izturis to third may not make that move necessary after LaRoche gets back into action.

Meanwhile, there's also been good news about a number of rehabbing pitchers. Jesus Castillo has made two very impressive starts for Ogden while Jumbo Diaz has looked sharp since moving up from the Gulf Coast team to Vero Beach. Diaz threw two hitless innings Monday, striking out three. His velocity continues to climb back although he's still 6-7 mph slower than his peak of 100.

Another rehabber, Jimmy Gilbert finally made an appearance a year after his elbow surgery and threw 94 mph in a Gulf Coast game but command problems betrayed him.

And Javy Guerra, also out for a year after a similar operation, is throwing batting practice and is close to getting back into action. He, too, will probably rehab with the GCL Dodgers.

However, there's still no definite decision on the imminent return of lefthander Ryan Ketchner although it's hoped that he begins making mound appearances sometimes in July.

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