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Dodgers' Casey Blake says his return unknown due to sore back [Update]

March 13, 2011 | 10:51 am

Casey

The Dodgers' Casey Blake said Sunday that he wasn't sure how soon he'd be able to play again after he suffered a strained lower back that made it "tough to sleep last night." The third baseman is listed as day-to-day.

Blake, 37, felt the strain after running out a sacrifice bunt he had laid down Saturday in the Dodgers' split-squad Cactus League game against the San Francisco Giants. But the injury might have happened while he was swinging the bat shortly before the bunt, he said.

Standing gingerly in front of reporters in the Dodgers' clubhouse at Camelback Ranch, Blake said “I don’t know enough about it to know whether it’s serious or not" and didn't yet know what treatment the Dodgers' training staff planned. "I know I’m pretty sore right now.”

Blake said he had dealt with slight back problems "the last couple of weeks" that he described as "just a little back tightness, nothing that’s kept me from doing anything.” But this injury is "in a different spot . . . more on my rib" on the right side, he said.

[Updated at 11:20 a.m.: The Dodgers later said that after Blake was examined by a doctor Sunday morning, it was determined that the injury was “more toward the back of his ribs as opposed to his lower back,” but that Blake was still listed as day-to-day to return to action.]

Blake was off to a slow start this spring -- he entered Saturday's game batting only .077 -- and the injury was frustrating because it reduces his number of additional at-bats ahead of opening day March 31, Blake said.

"I was going to play three or four days in a row here, so I was really looking forward to that," he said. "But what are you going to do?"

Blake struggled last year; he batted .248 with 17 home runs and 64 runs batted in. Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly has said he plans to periodically rest Blake this season in hopes that Blake doesn't tire and to boost Blake's offensive production.

-- Jim Peltz in Phoenix

Photo: Casey Blake signs autographs prior to last Thursday's game at the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch spring-training facility in Phoenix. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/US Presswire

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