Friday, June 11, 2010
Padilla could start at Fenway Park
By Tony Jackson
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Vicente Padilla is tentatively scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled list in time to start one of the first two games of next weekend's three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Padilla, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 25 because of a nerve problem at the top of his right forearm, will make his third minor league rehabilitation start on Sunday, this time for Triple-A Albuquerque at Oklahoma City. Although club officials haven't ruled out a fourth rehab start, Padilla will be activated if he experiences no problems Sunday.
"He will spend [Sunday] night in Oklahoma City and then join us in Cincinnati on Monday," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "We'll see what he looks like when he gets in there and how he feels. I have explained to him how important it is to be 100 percent sure he is ready to go. There could be another [rehab start], but if this one goes as well as the last one, we feel he could be ready."
Padilla made his first two rehab starts for high Single-A Inland Empire, giving up only one run and four hits over a combined 7 2/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked only one.
Amezaga out for 2010?
Alfredo Amezaga, the veteran utility man the Dodgers signed to a minor league contract last winter knowing he wouldn't be sufficiently recovered from offseason microfracture surgery on his left knee to play until June, apparently won't play for them at all in 2010.
Once cleared to play, Amezaga appeared in only one game for Double-A Chattanooga on May 17. A day or two later, he experienced discomfort in his other knee, and a subsequent MRI exam showed enough damage that he underwent arthroscopic surgery and is expected to be lost for the rest of the season.
Dodgers reliever George Sherrill, who never really did find his mechanics and lost his eighth-inning setup role before going onto the disabled list May 25, went into Friday night's game with the Los Angeles Angels still waiting to make his first appearance since being activated Tuesday. But Torre said he wasn't necessarily waiting for a lopsided game to use Sherrill.
"I wouldn't be afraid to use him [in a key situation]," Torre said. "But I would probably rather use him in the sixth or seventh inning to start with than in the eighth. But to be honest, I don't think it would bother me either way. The game will dictate when he comes into a game."
Dodgers sign Calero
The Dodgers have signed veteran reliever Kiko Calero to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Albuquerque. Calero was released last month by the New York Mets after posting a 10.59 ERA in 10 appearances for their Triple-A Buffalo affiliate.
"Basically, he was out there and available," said DeJon Watson, the Dodgers' assistant general manager for player development. "I know what he has done in the past, and we were looking for some depth. He agreed to go to Albuquerque, so we will see how it works out for us and for him."
Calero, 35, has a 3.24 ERA in 313 career big league appearances, all but one of them out of the bullpen, for the St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A's and Florida Marlins.
Brent Leach, the lefty reliever who made 38 appearances for the big league club as a rookie last season, has been demoted from Albuquerque to Double-A Chattanooga to continue his conversion to starting, which wasn't going particularly well in the Pacific Coast League.
In three starts for the Isotopes, Leach was 0-1 with an 11.74 ERA and had given up 10 earned runs on 16 hits in 7 2/3 innings while struggling with his mechanics.
"They were a little out of whack," Watson said. "He wasn't having much success at Albuquerque, but we're hoping with a change of scenery, he can kind of refocus on his mechanics and tighten them up with a fresh start."
Watson said the decision to make Leach a starter hinged on the fact he had a large assortment of pitches -- fastball, changeup, curve, slider -- and that minor league pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves and Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt both thought it might make him better suited to a long relief role, which the Dodgers might need him to fill in the majors at some point later in the year.
"He understands what we're trying to do," Watson said. "We're trying to get him back to the big leagues, whether it's as a starter or a reliever, even in a short role. The key is to get him on the mound so he can execute his pitches and do it over and over again so he doesn't feel like he can't repeat his delivery or that if he falls behind in the count he can't get back in the count. When you put a guy in a starting role, there is more time to work with him on the side than you have as a reliever."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.