After learning Saturday that left-handed relief pitcher Paul Maholm suffered a torn right ACL while covering first base during Friday night’s loss to the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers were due some happy news. Thankfully, they didn’t need to wait long.
Friday’s game featured health scares for Yasiel Puig (mild left hamstring strain), Adrian Gonzalez (right knee bruise) and A.J. Ellis (sore right knee), but the trio should be fine moving forward, according to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. None are in Saturday’s starting lineup, but all could be available if needed.
“Adrian is good today," Mattingly said before Saturday’s game. "He looked good today. He was getting a day [off] today anyway. A lefty [Tsuyoshi Wada, the Cubs' Saturday starter], and his back was a little bit stiff the other day. I’m pretty confident if I had to use him to pinch hit, to double-switch him into a game, I’m pretty confident he’d be available."
Mattingly updated Ellis' and Puig’s condition, as well.
"A.J., after taking that shot off his knee the other day, took another one last night. The same exact spot," he said. "He could go, too, in an emergency situation, but he’s going to be down a day, maybe two.
"Yasiel came in pretty good today. We’re being pretty cautious today. Probably be able use him to pinch hit. I don’t know if we’ve gotten to that double-switch part, but I think we’re gonna be able to use him tonight.
"It could have been worse," Mattingly continued.
Even first base coach Davey Lopes, who slipped down a few stairs, was given a clean bill of health.
"Davey Lopes came out of it good. He feels good today."
Still, Maholm’s absence must be accounted for, whether in the bullpen or, before his injury, as a potential fifth starter in replacement of struggling Dan Haren.
For the time being, Mattingly said, Haren remains on track to make his next scheduled start Wednesday in Anaheim, California, against the Los Angeles Angels.
"As I sit here today, Danny goes," Mattingly said. "I guess anything could change. We don’t know what could happen between now and then. There’s no plans, no talk of that changing."
Mattingly also insisted that Haren retaining his spot isn’t a matter of no better option, particularly in light of Maholm’s injury. As he reminded, most teams can’t rely on their fourth and fifth starters for consistent shutout performances. (Indeed, Dodgers fourth starter Josh Beckett is also in a funk.)
But mostly, Mattingly simply believes in Haren.
"Obviously, I still think Danny can pitch," Mattingly said. "Obviously, he hasn’t been that great lately. Probably Danny is feeling worse than anybody. But, you know, I like Danny. I like what he brings to the table. We know we’re going to get everything Danny has every time out, and that’s what I appreciate about him.
"Whatever it is at this point. It’s hard for me to ever kind of say anything bad about a guy that you know every time he goes out and pitches, he would basically take a bullet for the team. He would do anything you’d ask him to do."