Saito Will Consider Surgery If Necessary

Dodgers closer Takashi Saito, who underwent an MRI on after leaving game against Florida having faced only two batters, will miss at six weeks after being diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his right elbow. He won't need surgery for now, and he will be re-evaluated near the end of August.

Although fireballing setup man Jonathan Broxton is the obvious choice to move into the closer's role in Saito's absence, it isn't clear who will fill Broxton's eighth-inning role. It also isn't clear whether the Dodgers will pursue a more experienced closer -- a difficult commodity to come by -- between now and the July 31 trading deadline.

"We'll get together with (manager) Joe (Torre) and come up with a plan," general manager Ned Colletti said. "Obviously, it is not easy replacing someone like him. As far as trading for a closer, it's a lot like trying to acquire a shortstop. It's a premium position, and most teams don't carry an excess. We also have candidates within the staff. Many times, closers are discovered in times like this."

Given Saito's age (38), this could be a career-ending injury. Because he didn't come to the United States until 2006 after a successful 14-year career with the Yokohama BayStars of the Japanese Central League, Saito is still under the Dodgers' control as a third-year player and is still working off one-year contracts each season.

Because of that, the club incurs little financial risk and has been preparing for Saito's inevitable decline almost from the day he stepped into the closer's role. Saito has 80 saves in his three seasons with the Dodgers.

Notes and Quotes
--C Russell Martin wound up catching nine innings in the marathon All-Star Game. Martin's extraordinary regular-season workload could be blamed for his second-half decline each of the past two seasons. Last year, he hit .306 with 11 homers and 60 RBIs before the break to earn his first All-Star berth, then fell off to .275-8-27 for the second half.

--RHP Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball for the second-half opener tonight at Arizona. Despite a stint on the 15-day disabled list, Kuroda has had a solid first season in the United States. At the break, he was 5-6 with a 3.43 ERA, and he had been responsible for two of the Dodgers' three shutouts this season.

--RHP Jon Meloan could be in line for his first call-up of the season when RHP Takashi Saito is placed on the 15-day disabled list, probably on Friday. Meloan, a fireballing reliever, had a shaky big-league debut last season. He posted an 11.05 ERA in five appearances, all of them in September as the Dodgers were collapsing down the stretch, and gave up nine runs with eight walks over 7 1/3 innings.

--RHP Jason Schmidt is on track to make his first major league appearance in more than a year, possibly later this month. Schmidt underwent shoulder surgery June 20, 2007, when he had scar tissue removed from the bursa sac and a frayed biceps tendon and torn labrum repaired. So far, Schmidt has gotten through his rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Las Vegas without any major setbacks.

--OF Matt Kemp led the team during the first half with 51 RBIs. But Kemp also led the team, by a considerable margin, in strikeouts with 104. Kemp presently ranks third in the National League in strikeouts, seven behind Mark Reynolds and 25 behind runaway leader Ryan Howard.

By the Numb3rs: 3 -- Hits with runners in scoring position for CF Andruw Jones at the All-Star break. He had 45 at-bats in such situations. Jones had 10 RBIs for the season, all but assuring that he will fail to drive in at least 90 runs for the first time since 1999, when he drove in 84. Jones was batting just .164 overall, and a strong case can be made that he is baseball's biggest free agent bust in 2008 after signing a two-year, $36.2 million contract in December.

Quote to Note: "I kind of had an inkling it was going to happen. That's Joe's man, and I understand that. I have given this organization three years, and I will continue to give it everything I have. I love the Dodgers, and I hope they get to the World Series." -- Dodgers hitting coach Mike Easler, after learning he would be returning to a minor league coaching job because longtime Joe Torre confidant Don Mattingly was taking over as hitting coach following the All-Star break.

*M*A*S*H* 4077 Watch
: RHP Takashi Saito (sprained right elbow ligament) will be placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 13. He is expected to be out until at least late August.

1B/OF Mark Sweeney (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list July 4. He finished a rehab assignment with Class AAA Las Vegas on July 13.

SS Rafael Furcal (lower back tightness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 6, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 4. He was expected to be activated May 23 but was sore that morning. He started a rehab assignment with Class AAA Las Vegas on June 30, and he felt discomfort in his back the next morning. He had surgery July 3 to have a disk in his lower back partially removed. He hopes to play before the season ends.

RHP Brad Penny (mild tendinitis and inflammation in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 15. He won't be ready to return during the first series after the All-Star break.

LF Juan Pierre (sprained left medial collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list June 30. He will miss four to six weeks.

RHP Scott Proctor (sore right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 22.

RHP Jason Schmidt (right shoulder surgery in June 2007) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list and was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 20. He began a rehab assignment May 11. He was hit in the calf with a line drive during a rehab start on May 31, and the "new injury" extended his stay in the minors. He began a new rehab assignment with Class AAA Las Vegas and he could be back with the Dodgers in late July.

C Gary Bennett (plantar fasciitis in left foot) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 19, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 25. He had a setback in mid-June, and there was no timetable on his return.

INF Tony Abreu (sore right hip) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 13. He had season-ending surgery May 28.

Player Stats:
     HITTERS

Danny Ardoin, C
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .333     3   0   1   1   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    .211    19   1   4   1   0   0   2   0
Season          .211    19   1   4   1   0   0   2   0

Angel Berroa, SS
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .000     1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    .182    11   3   2   0   0   0   0   0
Season          .192    73   7  14   2   0   0   0   0

Blake DeWitt, 3B
                  BA    AB   R   H  2   3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .500     4   0   2   0   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    .304    23   1   7   0   0   0   0   0
Season          .263   266  31  70  10   2   5  34   3
  
Andre Ethier, RF
                  BA    AB   R   H  2   3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .000     3   1   0   0   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    .240    25   4   6   0   0   1   2   1
Season          .283   307  48  87  21   0  11  41   3

Rafael Furcal, SS
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  H   RBI  SB
Last Game       .250     4   1   1   0   0   1   1   0
Last 7 Games    .375    32  12  12   2   0   2   5   2
Season          .366   134  34  49  12   2   5  16   8

Nomar Garciaparra, 3B
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .667     3   1   2   1   0   0   2   0
Last 7 Games    .227    22   3   5   1   0   1   5   0
Season          .250    60  10  15   3   0   2  12   1

Andruw Jones, CF
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .000     3   1   0   0   0   0   1   0
Last 7 Games    .182    22   1   4   0   0   0   2   0
Season          .164   165  19  27   6   1   2  10   0

Matt Kemp, RF
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI   SB
Last Game       .750     4   2   3   1   0   0   2    2
Last 7 Games    .290    31   5   9   1   0   2   6    3
Season          .284   338  47  9   21   3   9   51   22

Jeff Kent, 2B
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .200     5   0   1   0   0   0   1   0
Last 7 Games    .115    26   0   3   1   0   0   2   0
Season          .253   285  28  72  15   1   9  40   0

Andy LaRoche, 3B
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .000     3   1   0   0   0   0   1   0
Last 7 Games    .091    11   1   1   0   0   0   1   0
Season          .182    44   4   8   1   0   2   3   0

James Loney, 1B
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3   HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .250     4   1   1   1   0   0   2   0
Last 7 Games    .160    25   3   4   3   0   0   3   0
Season          .291   350  43 10   25   4   7  50   3

Russell Martin, C
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .333     3   0   1   0   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    .190    21   2   4   0   0   1   3   1
With NLS        .333     3   0   1   0   0   0   0   0

Luis Maza, SS
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .667     3   1   2   0   0   0   1   0
Last 7 Games    .167    12   1   2   0   0   0   1   0
Season          .228    79   7  18   1   0   1   4   0

Juan Pierre, LF
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .333     3   0   1   0   0   0   0   1
Last 7 Games    .286    28   2   8   0   0   0   0   7
Season          .277   274  30  76   9   1   0  24  35

Mark Sweeney, 1B
                  BA  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR  RB   SB
Last Game       .000   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    .000   7   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Season          .094  64   1   6   2   0   0   3   0

Delwyn Young, 2B
                  BA    AB   R   H  2B  3   HR  RBI  SB
Last Game       .000     1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    .222     9   3   2   0   0   0   1   0
Season          .255   102   9  26   6   0   1   5   0

    PITCHERS

Joe Beimel, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G  IP   H  ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game       0.00   0-0   0   1   1   0   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    4.50   0-0   0   3   2   4   1   0   0   0
Season          1.61   3-0   0  42  28  30   5   0  10  18

Chad Billingsley, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G    IP    H   ER  H   BB   K
Last Game       1.29   1-0   0   1    7     5    1   0   0   13
Last 7 Games    2.66   2-1   0   3   20.1   17   6   1   5   26
Season          3.25   9-8   0  21  116.1  101  42   8  50  128

Jonathan Broxton, P
                 ERA   W-L    Sv   G   IP    H  ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game       0.00   0   0   0   1   1     0   0   0   0   1
Last 7 Games    0.00   0   0   0   3   2.1   1   0   0   0   1
Season          3.40   2   2   0  40  39.2  33  15   2  15  46

Brian Falkenborg, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G    IP   H  ER  H   BB   K
Last Game       0.00   0-0   0   1   0.1   0   0   0   0   0
Last 7 Games    3.86   0-1   0   3   2.1   1   1   1   0   0
Season          6.43   1-2   0   9   7     4   5   2   2   5

Hong-Chih Kuo, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G  IP    H  ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game       0.00   0-0   0   1   3    2   0   0   1   3
Last 7 Games    0.00   0-0   0   3   7    3   0   0   1   7
Season          1.69   3-1   0  22  53.1 38  10   2  13  63

Hiroki Kuroda, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G   IP        ER  HR  BB    K
Last Game       4.05   0-0   0   1   6.2    7   3   1   1    5
Last 7 Games    1.19   2-0   0   3  22.2   13   3   1   2   12
Season          3.43   5-6   0  17  105    97  40  10  29   62

Derek Lowe, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G    IP    H  ER  HR  BB    K
Last Game       1.17   1-0   0   1   7.2    2   1   1   1    4
Last 7 Games    2.75   2-1   0   3  19.2   15   6   1   3   13
Season          3.85   7-8   0  20  124   122  53  11  30   88

Chan Ho Park, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G  IP    H   ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game       6.75   0-0   0   1   4     9   3   1   1   4
Last 7 Games    3.18   1-0   0   3  11.1  14   4   1   4  11
Season          2.63   4-2   1  25  65    65  19   8  24  52

Brad Penny, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G    IP   H    ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game      17.18   0-1   0   1   3.2    7    7   2   2   0
Last 7 Games    6.89   0-3   0   3  15.2   19   12   3   9  10
Season          5.88   5-9   0  15  85.2  101   56   9  36  47

Scott Proctor, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G   IP    H   ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game       0.00   0-0   0   1   0     3    4   0   2   0
Last 7 Games   33.75   0-0   0   3   1.1   5    5   0   3   4
Season          6.82   1-0   0  33  31.2  36   24   6  22  36

Takashi Saito, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G    IP   H   ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game       0.00   0-0   0   1   0.2   0    0   0   0   2
Last 7 Games    0.00   0-0   1   3   3.2   0    0   0   1   4
Season          2.18   3-3  17  39  41.1  34   10   1  12  53

Eric Stults, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G   IP    H  ER  HR  BB    K
Last Game       4.50   0-1   0   1   6     6   3   2   3    6
Last 7 Games    4.70   0-2   0   3  15.1  18   8   4   8   13
Season          2.67   2-2   0   5  30.1  28   9   4  10   21

Ramon Troncoso, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G   IP    H  ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game       9.00   0-1   0   1   2     2   2   0   0   2
Last 7 Games    4.15   0-1   0   3   4.1   3   2   0   1   3
Season          4.91   0-1   0  13  14.2  13   8   0   6  14

Cory Wade, P
                 ERA   W-L  Sv   G    IP   H   ER  HR  BB   K
Last Game       0.00   0-0   0   1    1     0   0   0   0   2
Last 7 Games    4.15   0-0   0   3    4.1   2   2   2   1   5
Season          2.56   0-1   0  30   38.2  31  11   5   8  27

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