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Dodgers roll dice on Casey Blake, Marcus Thames

June 26, 2011 |  2:59 pm

Banged up, hobbling, out of commission, lost for the season.

It’s the story of the Dodgers’ injury-riddled season. Players tag-teaming it on-and-off the disabled list, if not the surgery table.

So Sunday they elected to go with a pair of less-than-healthy players, deciding to play Casey Blake and not place Marcus Thames on the disabled list. Both are somewhat risky.

These are quickly becoming desperate times for the Dodgers. Right-handed bats are in short supply, particularly those with a hint of power.

Blake has been battling a pinched nerve in his neck since June 10. Already having spent two stints on the disabled list this season, Blake has tried to avoid another.

Blake, 37, is far from healed but has progressed to the point where he wants to try playing semi-regularly. He was in the lineup at third base Sunday against the Angels.

"We’re going to play him and see what happens," said Manager Don Mattingly. "There’s a possibility he could go backwards and we’d get to the point where we’d have to DL him or something like that. But at this point, we’re going to put him out there and see how he does."

Meaning, inflammation could increase and send him to the DL, though Mattingly said they were assured playing could not cause further damage.

"He could definitely irritate it, but no one feels like he’s going to do any damage where it could push him into some type of surgery," Mattingly said.

The Dodgers also elected to keep Thames, who has shown some improvement from his strained left calf, off the DL, partially because their next six games are in American League parks and he can be a designated hitter.

Mattingly said Thames is at about 75 percent, but not ready to play the field. He injured the calf Friday.

Blake is batting .244 with three home runs and 16 RBIs, and in the past few games had been limited to pinch hitting.

"We’re in a situation where he’s willing to play," Mattingly said. "He’s like, 'I’m ready.'

"He doesn’t want to sit there and watch games. He wants to be a part of the season. He sees we’re not winning game and wants to be a part of getting this thing on track."


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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake throws to first base during a game against the Houston Astros on June 19. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / U.S. Presswire