Outfielder Scott Podsednik is back with the Dodgers, sore heel and all.
Podsednik is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his left foot and is out for the rest of the season. He had gone to Texas for a second opinion.
Podsednik had an anti-inflammatory injection in the heel and is scheduled to wear a walking boot for the next three weeks.
Podsednik said doctors are not anticipating the heel will require surgery. Plantar fasciitis is the painful inflammation of the ligament that connects the heel to the toes.
The injury complicates another Dodgers decision for next season. Podsednik, 34, has a mutual option in his contract for next year at $2 million.
Coming off the injury, it’s unlikely Podsednik would declare for free agency. The Dodgers need to find another power bat in their lineup and probably will have to decide whether to bring him back as a reserve.
Podsednik said he wasn’t ready to discuss next season.
"You know, there’s a time and place for that and it’s not right now," he said. "We still have two weeks left in the season and we’ll handle all those decisions at the appropriate time."
Podsednik, battling the foot injury, hit just .262 in 149 at-bats for the Dodgers. He was batting .310 with the Royals before his July 28 trade. He hit .304 in August for the Dodgers, but as the foot became more of an issue, just .115 in seven September games.
He did, however, say he felt comfortable on the Dodgers.
"It’s been comfortable," he said. "It would have been a lot better if we’d won more games. I don’t think we clicked the way we should, or the way we drew it up. But in terms of just comfort, I felt comfortable here."
-- Steve Dilbeck
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Outfielder Scott Podsednik is back with the Dodgers, sore heel and all.
Playing so well, he’ll be around again next season?
Could be. At this point, probably should be.
Jay Gibbons’ travels from seven-year major leaguer, to disgraced user of performance-enhancing drugs, back to bouncing around the minors for three seasons, to finally getting another chance with the Dodgers, has been well chronicled.
It’s what he’s done with his opportunity that’s now notable: In 43 at-bats, he’s hitting .349 with five home runs and 15 runs batted in.
If he had the same number of at-bats (155) as man he replaced as the Dodgers’ left-handed pinch-hitter, Garret Anderson, his numbers would project to 18 home runs and 54 RBIs. Anderson exited batting .181 with two home runs and 12 RBIs.
With Manny Ramirez waived, the Dodgers will be in need of a regular left fielder next season. The candidates? Every breathing outfielder. Particularly the inexpensive ones.
Which Gibbons will be. Although he should certainly listen to all offers, the Dodgers figure to have an edge, being the team that gave him another chance and his hometown team (he went to Mayfair High in Lakewood and Cal State Los Angeles).
The Dodgers have to determine if they want him back as a left-handed pinch-hitter, a platoon starter in left or as a regular left fielder.
The latter is the least likely. He’s 33, and defensively, not exactly Gold Glove material.
Still, there should be a role for him. For now, at least, he should start Wednesday against right-hander Matt Cain. Yet despite being left-handed, he’s hit righties and lefties about the same.
Sunday he hit a three-run homer into the upper deck, and Friday he hit a two-run homer.
"Right now, I’m seeing a player that gives you reason to look to him for more,’’ said Manager Joe Torre.
Scott Podsednik, who has been the Dodgers' regular left fielder since being acquired from the Royals on July 28, missed the last three games with inflammation in his left foot. Torre said he should be available when the Dodgers open their three-game series Tuesday in San Francisco.
"But with what Gibby has shown us, he certainly deserves more time out there and he'll probably get it,’’ Torre said.
And deserves an offer for next season.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Jay Gibbons connects for a three-run home run against the Giants on Sept. 4. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times
Not when Ted Lilly again pitches well. Not when they jump out to an early 2-0 lead on an Andre Ethier home run. Not even when 16-year minor leaguer John Lindsey finally gets his first major league at-bat.
Somehow they find a way to lose, again. Manage to turn a promising game into another forgettable loss.
This time Lilly made one mistake and Chris Johnson crushed it for three-run homer to lead the Astros to a 3-2 victory Thursday, handing the Dodgers their sixth consecutive defeat.
That matched their season high for consecutive losses, though it’s the fourth time they’ve managed to accomplish the ignoble feat.
After Jamey Carroll was safe on a throwing error, Ethier hit his first home run in 14 games, jumping on a Bud Norris fastball in the first inning to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Lilly then went to work, and for the most part was cruising. Lilly will become a free agent in the offseason, would like to remain with the Dodgers and is essentially pitching for a new contract.
Through five innings, he held the Astros to four hits. It seemed like old times for Lilly, who had won his last seven decisions against Houston.
In the sixth, though, he wobbled and the Astros took advantage.
Hunter Pence slapped a single to lead off the inning and Carlos Lee walked. Lilly got Jason Michaels to fly to shallow right.
Johnson had struck out in his first two at-bats against Lilly, who almost caught him looking at a close pitch that took the count full. But after fouling off a couple of pitches, Johnson drilled the three-run homer into the rafters in left. It was measured at 417 feet.
Lilly (8-10 overall, 5-2 as a Dodger) finished the night having allowed the three runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out six.
Lindsey hit for Lilly to start the seventh, but after 16 years of waiting, his first at-bat was uneventful, flying out routinely to center.
The Dodgers, however, proceeded to load the bases against reliever Gustavo Chacin with one out on a Scott Podsednik walk, Carroll single and walk to Ethier.
And still they couldn’t score. James Loney popped up to short, and right-hander Mark Melancon came on to get pinch-hitter Jay Gibbons to bounce out to first.
Norris, who came in with a 6-8 record and 5.35 ERA -- he had had given up five runs in each of his last two starts -- picked up the victory. He allowed the two runs on three hits. He walked four and struck out seven.
There was one bit of good news for the Dodgers. When A.J. Ellis threw out Jason Bourgeois attempting to steal in the seventh, it marked the end of 40 consecutive stolen base attempts against the Dodgers.
-- Steve Dilbeck
So Joe Torre fell on his sword. That’s what good soldiers do, of course, and Torre is nothing if not the good soldier.
Torre took responsibility for the Dodgers’ disappointing season prior to Wednesday’s game in San Diego, lamenting his inability to make a difference, to raise the team and individual level of play.
Now there is plenty of blame to go around, and certainly Torre will get his share. When a team goes south, that’s the typical fallout.
Yet however he is criticized for the use of his bullpen or early insistence on Charlie Haeger as a fifth starter or his reluctance to admit that Jonathan Broxton had lost his way, or his prolonged loyalty to Garret Anderson or the failure to nurture development from his young core of hitters, mostly he played the hand he was dealt.
Blame will have a universal feel when this team’s final obit is written, starting with ownership, filtering through management and down to the players themselves. Such as they were.
Torre has to take only his own bullets. He showed yet again during the fiasco that was Manny Ramirez in his final days, that he will promote the company line and protect players and management if necessary, regardless of how it makes him look.
His lineups often speak for themselves, frequently littered with role players and other teams’ rejects.
Is he actually supposed to win a pennant with a lineup of Scott Podsednik, Rod Barajas, Ryan Theriot and Jamey Carroll? Really? With Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp off in some hazy second-half funk? Rafael Furcal unable to stay healthy? Corner hitters James Loney and Casey Blake fading?
And a bullpen that was a team strength last season getting the wrong kind of turnaround performance from Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, George Sherrill and Broxton?
It’s not like Torre is some victim here. And as he well knows, a manager ultimately will always be held accountable for his team’s performance, good or bad.
But to take full responsibility for the failure of so many is wrong and unnecessary. When it comes to accepting liability for their 2010 season, the Dodgers will need to pass around a lot of mirrors.
-- Steve Dilbeck
As opposed to what it has been in the second half, the worst in baseball.
That’s right, worst in the game. You want stats, dive in wherever you want. Numbers can make cases for all kinds of things, particularly in baseball.
But this is certainly the most disappointing outfield performance in baseball, specifically in the second half, when it has all but vanished from sight.
Before the year began, an outfield of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez was so formidable, it not only was argued to be the best in baseball, but that superstar Manny might be only its third-best outfielder.
Kemp and Ethier were coming off breakout seasons. They adorned the cover of the team’s 2010 media guide holding their Silver Slugger bats. They were young and despite their success, still reeking of further potential.
Then after sizzling starts, they faded away.
Ethier was off to a triple-crown start before fracturing his pinkie. Since his return, he has not been the same player. Kemp looked like the budding superstar he was supposed to be early on, at least at the plate, but has struggled with consistency since.
Manny was highly effective early, then injured, returned, was injured, returned, popped up briefly, was injured, returned and waived. And wasn’t that fun?
Meanwhile, Ethier and Kemp have been going through some kind of personal strikeout contest since the All-Star break. And as much as Kemp waves and misses, as TrueBlueLA.com’s Eric Stephen points out, Ethier actually has the edge (55-49).
Since the break, Stephen notes both are hitting .233. Pretty impressive, eh? Ethier has an on-base percentage of only .305 and slugging of .389, while Kemp is even worse at .299 and .364, respectively.
And that little Energizer bunny that manager Joe Torre feigns at being so impressed with? Scott Podsednik’s on-base is at .316 and slugging at .338.
Just kinda gets you all tingling thinking about it.
Presumably, better days await, but at this point that’s no lock. Ethier will be 29 in April. Kemp turns 26 in less than three weeks. They are kids no more.
And for all the excuses Torre constantly makes for Kemp’s mental blunders because he hasn’t focused on baseball that long, this is his seventh professional season. I think that qualifies as plenty of time to get it.
The Dodgers’ offense has been an embarrassment in the second half. Starting with that one place that was supposed to be its strength.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Pitching is what it’s about. It’s the manager’s favorite refrain. The key to winning baseball. The difference between a good and great team.
Or maybe not.
Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers’ rotation has been the best in the National League. The stuff of every manager’s dream.
And the Dodgers have gone 20-31.
It was more of the same Tuesday night, Clayton Kershaw pitching very well but the Dodgers once again unable to scratch any offense together, falling to Mat Latos and the Padres, 2-1.
Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers’ starters have an impressive 3.22 ERA. Have held opponents to a .228 batting average.
All while stumbling out of playoff contention. Tuesday’s loss left the Dodgers 10 games back of the Padres in the National League West and 10 back of the Braves for the wild-card berth.
Latos had the stomach flu Monday and had to skip his scheduled start. The Padres won anyway, and then he came back to make the Dodgers look ill Tuesday.
Latos (14-5) matched his career high with 10 strikeouts in seven innings. He gave up the one run and four hits and did not walk a batter.
Kershaw (11-10) nearly matched him, but he gave up a pair of runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out six.
The Padres scored their first run off Kershaw after Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada and Nick Hundley all singled to load the bases with one out in the second. Aaron Cunningham’s fly to right was deep enough to sacrifice Gonzalez home.
San Diego went up 2-0 in third on a single by Chris Denorfia, a sacrifice bunt by David Eckstein and Gonzalez double.
The Dodgers picked up one back in the sixth when Scott Podsednik doubled with two out and scored on a Rafael Furcal single up the middle.
The Dodgers got a Jamey Carroll double to lead off the eighth, but couldn’t bring him home to tie it. After pinch-hitter Jay Gibbons lined out to a diving Denorfia in left-center Padres manager Bud Black called on closer Heath Bell to earn a five-out save.
His 31-pitch save was his 42nd of the season.
The Dodgers finished with five hits.
-- Steve Dilbeck
The poor little San Diego Padres. They had lost 10 consecutive games. Had lost any semblance of confidence. Lost all but one game of their division lead.
They were one spooked team. So rattled, if you looked hard, you half expected to see their knees shaking.
Into this valley of fear, stepped the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team so completely mixed up it’s capable of curing what ails any opponent.
The Padres took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning Monday, played nervous and like a team expecting the worst throughout much of the night … and still held on for a 4-2 victory.
The loss left the disappointing Dodgers a .500 club (69-69); it’s the first time they’ve been at the .500 mark since May 12. They fell nine games back of the Padres in National League West.
The Dodgers appeared to have caught a break before the game when Padres ace Mat Latos (13-5, 2.25 earned-run average) came down ill and they had to send out Tim Stauffer as their emergency starter.
Stauffer is a reliever who had appeared in 26 games this season, but started only once on May 9. He was 8-14 with a 5.03 ERA lifetime as a starter.
Yet the Dodgers’ offense right now is such that it can make most any starter can look like a Latos.
Stauffer lasted only four innings, but held the Dodgers to one run on four hits, and left with a 3-1 lead.
The Padres used seven pitchers to pull out the victory. And now Latos is scheduled to pitch Tuesday.
The Dodgers scored their run off Stauffer in the fourth on a James Loney double and Andre Ethier single. It was Ethier’s first RBI in nine games.
The Padres had taken a 1-0 lead against Vicente Padilla when Nick Hundley led off the third with a home run.
After the Dodgers tied it, San Diego came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Following one-out singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Tejada, Padilla walked Chase Headley to load the bases.
Padilla was making his first start since Aug. 15, after going on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his neck. The rest of the fourth, however, did nothing for his health.
The Padres drove in two runs without hitting the ball out of the infield. Will Venable hit a bouncer to Loney at first, who fired to second for one. Venable, however, just beat Rafael Furcal’s throw back to first to avoid the double play as Gonzalez scored.
Hundley then drove a pitch in front of the plate that acted liked it ricocheted off concrete. The ball bounced so high in the air, by the time it finally came down into the glove of Furcal, he had no play. Tejada scored and San Diego had its third run.
Padilla (6-5) lasted four innings, allowing his three runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out five.
Scott Podsednik pulled the Dodgers within one with his first home run as a Dodger, a solo shot off Luke Gregerson in the seventh.
The Padres got it back, however, off lost-looking Jonathan Broxton in the bottom of the inning on a double by Aaron Cunningham, a groundout and David Eckstein's sacrifice fly.
Through the first seven innings, the Dodgers left nine men on base.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Padres reliever Tim Stauffer made an emergency start and lasted four inning Monday night. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel / US Presswire
Manny Ramirez did speak to the Chicago media when he joined the White Sox Tuesday … in Spanish.
Manny was born in the Dominican Republic, but grew up in the Bronx, has been in the major leagues for 17 years, makes his home in Florida and speaks great English.
He always spoke English to the Los Angeles media, you know, back when he was speaking to us.
Manny, however, stopped talking to the press on the third day of spring training without explanation.
In Cleveland, he used coach Joey Cora to translate in his introductory news conference.
"Feels more comfortable with his language,’’ Cora said. "Obviously he understands [the questions], but he wants to make sure.’’
As you might imagine, Manny is dominating the Web for the Dodgers, though there was that little matter of the trial:
-- Yahoo.com’s Tim Brown wrote an absolutely terrific piece on the McCourts' trial and the beautiful people of L.A.
-- Foxsports.com’s Mark Kriegel says that Frank and Jamie McCourt are way too ready for their close-up, but neither are fit to own the team.
-- The Times’ T.J. Simers has a hilarious opening to his look at the trial, when the judge swears the McCourts in and then asks them to say, "I do.’’
-- CBSsports.com’s Scott Miller said the Dodgers always knew Manny came with an expiration date, but at least he didn’t leave behind the same mess he did in Boston.
-- Riverside Press-Enterprise' Gregg Patton writes that Manny knows how to make an entrance, but needs to work on his exit.
-- Fanhouse.com’s Tom Krasovic doesn’t think Manny quit on the Dodgers and wonders why they stopped playing him.
-- ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes that with Manny, it never seems to end well.
-- Newhanonbaseball.com’s Ross Newhan, the former Times Hall of Fame baseball writer, said it’s ridiculous to think Scott Podsednik could help a late playoff run more than Manny and thinks the Dodgers should have kept and played him.
-- MikeSciosiastragicillness.com has a lengthy Manny overview, saying it was never boring while he was around, but if he was no longer at his peak, he was still an effective hitter when healthy.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Still, the way the Dodgers handled the final days of Manny Ramirez has left me uneasy, unsettled more than it should.
Sometimes you hear the truth, sometimes the pieces of it that can be told, sometimes simply the fabrications.
Now I’m not saying the Dodgers flat out lied about Manny.
Well, except that part from Ned Colletti about how he wouldn’t trade off a key player while still feeling the team was alive for a playoff spot. Like he said Monday, what was he supposed to say while having potential trade talks about acquiring minor leaguers?
And maybe Joe Torre saying Monday that waiving Manny to the White Sox wasn’t a straight-out salary dump. When they got absolutely nothing in return.
"It opened up a roster spot," Torre said.
Right, to activate a pitcher (Ramon Troncoso). On Sept. 1, Torre can call up all the pitchers he wants.
Then there was Torre insisting that he had not started Manny the last four days because he couldn’t physically play every day … and then because he liked the energy Scott Podsednik brought to the lineup … and then because dreadlocks are so passe.
Talking in circles is not fabricating. It’s talking in circles.
"[Manny’s] choice was to play every day," Torre said. "And he wasn’t going to do that here, playing the outfield every day.
"Physically he couldn’t do it."
Clearly, Manny had continuing issues with his right leg. But how could Torre possibly know how much Manny could play if he chose not to play him?
"That is a good question," Torre said. "I chose to do the other thing by playing Podsednik and working to manufacture runs instead of putting Manny in left field and having him not be the defensive player Podsednik is."
Of course, when Manny returned from the disabled list Aug. 21 and didn’t get a single hit but the Dodgers won 8-5, Torre raved about the impact he had on the rest of the lineup and how he would play him as much as he could.
Which is a long way from sitting him four consecutive games.
"I didn’t play him the day game after a night game," Torre said. "I didn’t play him against [Ubaldo] Jimenez, that’s two games. I chose not to play him after winning four in a row because I just liked the way the club was playing with the speed guys, Podsednik, at the top of the lineup. And then yesterday, he didn’t play either.
"To answer your question, I changed my mind."
A manager’s prerogative.
Though, Manny did play the first two games of that four-game winning streak. And did want to continue playing. He was so miffed at not playing and being told he was now curiously going to be a part-time player, he apparently opted out of Sunday’s start.
Now we’ll never know if Manny could have played six games a week in the outfield. Never know if he could have regained a semblance of his old form in a late contract push.
Because Torre thinks the Dodgers are a better team with Podsednik in the lineup than Manny? Really? The Dodgers were 31-21 with Manny in the lineup and 36-43 without him.
Manny was waived Wednesday and claimed on Friday by the White Sox. He last started a game Wednesday.
The suspicion remains that the Dodgers didn’t want to start him and risk injury, blowing the waiver. And the saving of $3.8 million.
Unless, of course, you truthfully believe Podsednik brings all that energy and gives the Dodgers a better chance to win.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Another day, another Manny Ramirez benching.
What to think?
Something is going on beyond those big alleys at Coors Field, the tough pitcher of the day, Scott Podsednik -- Scott Podsednik? -- offering more in the lineup and whatever "feel thing’" that Joe Torre has going at the moment.
Meanwhile, Manny was scheduled to put his $20 fanny back on the pine Sunday against the Rockies.
For the fourth consecutive game.
Ugh, is this any way for a team to try and charge back into the playoff picture?
Nope. I could offer you Torre's tired explanations given to reporters back in Denver, but come on.
"If we had the DH, we wouldn't even be having this conversation," Torre said.
Right, but of course there is no designated hitter in the National League and there is Manny on the Dodgers. What a waste.
Torre said Manny was tentatively scheduled to return to the lineup Monday when the Dodgers come home to host the team they're chasing for the wild-card spot, the Phillies.
As opposed to the Rockies, one of the teams they have to climb over to even get to the Rockies.
There is an agenda going on here from someone, and maybe it is as simple as not wanting to get him hurt before he's traded to the White Sox.
If that's it, at least this soap opera will be brought to a close by Tuesday morning. Right now, I'm open to all conspiracy theories.
That playing schedule for Manny that Torre said he was going to map out with him? Torre now said he'd do that on ... Tuesday.
-- Steve Dilbeck