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Dodgers hope Casey Blake returns to lineup Friday

June 15, 2011 | 11:57 am

The Dodgers hope veteran third baseman Casey Blake can return to the starting lineup Friday when the team opens a three-game series with the Houston Astros, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday.

Blake Blake, 37, was not in the starting lineup Wednesday for the fifth consecutive game, this time as the Dodgers face the Cincinnati Reds in a day game at Dodger Stadium. He's been suffering from a sore neck that might involve a pinched nerve.

However, Blake has been able to pinch-hit in three of the Dodgers' last four games.

Asked if Blake would be ready to start Friday, after the Dodgers have a day off Thursday, Mattingly said "we're hoping" and that Blake was "going to get a cortisone injection [Wednesday night] after the game. We're hoping that's going to speed his recovery."

Mattingly said the Dodgers were not thinking about placing Blake on the disabled list if Blake doesn't quickly recover, noting that he can continue to pinch-hit and, if necessary, play first base because it doesn't require the long throws needed to play third.

"He can do it, he's just not feeling 100%," Mattingly said.

Here are the starting lineups for Wednesday's game, one of the Dodgers' "throwback games" in which the teams will wear uniforms from the 1940s:

Dee Gordon SS
Jamey Carroll 2B
Andre Ethier RF
Matt Kemp CF
Juan Uribe 3B
Marcus Thames LF
James Loney 1B
Rod Barajas C
Chad Billingsley P

Chris Heisey CF
Edgar Renteria SS
Joey Votto 1B
Brandon Phillips 2B
Scott Rolen 3B
Jonny Gomes LF
Fred Lewis RF
Ryan Hanigan C
Travis Wood P

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Casey Blake during a game against the Phillies in Philadelphia on June 7. Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images