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Dodgers Web musings: Time for Casey Blake to walk away

August 22, 2011 |  3:07 pm

Photo: Casey Blake

If you know Casey Blake at all, you like him. If you watch him play at all, you like him.

He’s straightforward, yet with an unexpected sense of humor. He’s thoughtful, intense yet easygoing, highly competitive and very proud.

Also, he is hurt. He’s been on the disabled list three times this season, and for someone who turns 38 on Tuesday, that’s hardly shocking.

Yet the most disturbing aspect is his current injury -– a nagging pinched nerve in his neck -– is not truly improving. And as he told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez, doctors have warned if he continues to play, it could become more severe.

"The more I play, the more chance I have to really put more pressure on that nerve," Blake said. "If you put enough pressure on it, you bang it enough, you can cause some damage."

Is it worth the risk? Hard to imagine. I don’t know how great the threat is that Blake may cause permanent damage, but clearly it is there.

It is time for Blake to step away.

Whether that’s to retirement or just to shut it down for the rest of the season to see if the neck can heal, is up to him. But he needs to walk away from this season for his own health, his own future.

Of course, if he wants to keep playing –- and that is his preference –- it could cost him money if he can’t show in the next five weeks that he’s healthy. At this point, long-term healthy versus some extra dollars seems an easy call. Even though he started his major-league career late, he’s earned more than $33 million in his career.

"The main focus is just getting healthy and doing what's best for my neck and my future,’’ Blake told Hernandez.

Let’s hope.

Also on the Web:

-- Mike Petriello of MikeSciosciasTragicIllness, while somewhat reluctantly calling Blake the third-best third baseman in Dodgers’ history, thinks the Dodgers should recognize there is no future with Blake and let him go.

-- Jon Weisman of ESPN/LA compares the careers of Jared Weaver and Clayton Kershaw, and determines Kershaw is ahead of Weaver’s pace and should earn more at each step in his career, including the five-year, $85-million extension Weaver agreed to Sunday.

-- In a piece for Minor League Baseball, Chris Jackson features Tim Federowicz, the catcher the Dodgers received for outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who understands he’s under some pressure since most frowned on the deal.

Also, check out the truly bad moustache, which apparently is no more.

-- Reliever Kenley Jansen struck out two in one perfect inning for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday in his first rehab appearance since being diagnosed with heart arrhythmia.

-- CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler takes a look at what he calls the real surprise team of 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Casey Blake. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times