Want to find a pretty good way to get an autograph from a Los Angeles Dodgers player? Go to the hospital. There is a pretty good chance one will be there.
Left-handed pitcher Ted Lilly is a regular there this season. On Sunday, the veteran went on the disabled list for a MLB-leading third time this season. This time, a nagging neck injury will shelve him for another 15-plus days and force the Dodgers to continue to pencil in minor league pitchers Matt Magill and/or Stephen Fife in the rotation.
It’s been the season of the disabled list for manager Don Mattingly’s team as they lead MLB with 19 trips to the dreaded list. The injuries, coupled with poor play, have the Dodgers in last place and eight games out of the top spot in the National League West.
“We’ve been juggling,” Mattingly told USA Today. It’s been a circus. You’ve got balls in the air all the time. The number of DLs we’ve had, we just haven’t formed any consistency with the team.”
Every starting position player but Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier has hit the DL this year, and even Gonzalez and Ethier have both missed games because of minor injuries. Having so many players hit the disabled list has also been forcing the Dodgers to be more careful with how they handle the injuries.
For instance, Hanley Ramirez has been off the disabled list for five days, but he has missed the last four games because he felt a little tightness. Ramirez says he can play, but Mattingly doesn’t want to take any chances. His thinking must be that he wants every player 100 percent.
Second baseman Mark Ellis is dealing with the same situation. He has been in and out of the lineup in the the last two weeks trying to heal his groin injury.
More bad news on Sunday was word that Matt Kemp had a setback in his rehab for his hamstring injury. The All-Star center fielder was expected to return on Friday, but now it looks like he could miss another two weeks.
Injuries are surely part of the game, but at some point you just have to feel bad for the Dodgers. At least ace Clayton Kershaw has not been hurt this season … but he pitches tonight. Hold your breath.