Maybe the starting line-up should just take a nap before games.
On Wednesday night, pre-game warm-ups claimed another Dodger victim, just minutes before the first pitch against the San Diego Padres.
Manny Ramirez was warming up his aging legs, performing an exercise he does every day before the game begins. The left fielder was swinging his legs in the recreational room, attempting to stretch out his hamstring, when he got too close to a table and struck it with his foot.
Already down their star right fielder, due to another freak pre-game mishap, the Dodgers took no chances and removed Manny from the starting line-up. With two outfielders out and a reliever on the mound to start the game, the Blue Crew finally relinquished their nine-game winning streak to the Padres, losing 10-5.
Manny's injury didn't appear to be serious, as he pinch-hit later in the game. However, the incident comes less than a week after right fielder Andre Ethier broke the pinky finger on his right hand during pre-game batting practice. Ethier is on the 15-day disabled list, and is sporting a splint on the injured finger.
The Dodgers can ill-afford another injury, already missing several starters due to injury. There has been no updates regarding Rafael Furcal's return from the disabled list with a sore hamstring. He was eligible to return from the 15-day DL last weekend against the Padres, but team doctors and manager Joe Torre felt he was not ready after complaints from Furcal of continued discomfort.
Starting pitchers Vicente Padilla and Charlie Haeger are still out. Padilla has elbow soreness and isn't due back until early June. Haeger suffers from Plantar fasciitis in his right foot and finished up rehab last week. Plantar fasciitis is a condition in the arch of the foot that causes sudden and immense pain, making it difficult to walk or even stand. Haeger should return soon, but will need to find a groove as he is still struggling.
Cory Wade has yet to see game action this season, and his return is expected some time in June.
Finally, Brad Ausmus is on the 60-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his lower back. The veteran catcher had surgery on April 28th, but there is no time table for his return. He appeared to be moving slowly and gingerly, walking around the Dodgers' dugout during pre-game in San Diego.
The current Dodgers success is a welcomed sign for concerned fans, but starting games with more than half of the line-up comprised of reserves will eventually take its toll on the win-loss column. There could be new faces in the clubhouse as the All-Star break nears.
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