Ted Lilly, who has been out since May 24 with left shoulder inflammation, is finally starting to pitch close to 100%. He threw yesterday, and expected to feel strong again today. Lilly said that he was likely to throw one more solid bullpen session, then face hitters in practice, then finally head out for a minor league rehab stint. Once this happens, Ted will obviously be well on his way to being back in the rotation.
“I feel pretty confident I can start being aggressive with the throwing program,” said Lilly. “This was the most intensity I’ve had.”
With Ted being close to his return, what will that say about our rotation if the Dodgers acquire Ryan Dempster? It is easy to say that Nate Eovaldi would be sent down if we acquired Dempster now, but with the rotation of Kershaw, Bills, Cap, Harang and Lilly, will a move with Billingsley finally be made? My initial guess would be to send Bills to the pen, but with a lingering $9 Million contract just for this year alone, it’s too political to say for sure. If anything else, the Dempster move will shake things up if it happens. Only time will tell.
Today “marks” a huge day for Mark Ellis (See what I did there? Eh? Ok, sorry, no more puns) Considering our absurd amount of injuries, I figured that everyone would like a brief little summation on all the players to see when we’ll have our Dodgers team back, healthy, and ready to make a push back to first place. Here it is:
Mark Ellis: Mark is literally one month ahead of schedule in regards to his rehab. After a May 19th collision at second base, he was hospitalized for five days, and came within six hours of losing his leg. I’m not a doctor…but that’s not typically a “let’s get back to playing baseball” type situation. That’s more of a “I’m lucky to be walking” type situation. Nonetheless though, he is not only walking, he’s playing again. Like I said before, today is a huge day for Mark. He will be making his first rehab start of a four day assignment for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Tonight, he is going to just DH. Then he will play the field the remaining three days, and rest after that. The Dodgers have targeted Mark to make his official comeback with the club (assuming all goes well with rehab games) for the Arizona series which starts this upcoming Thursday, July 5th.
Matt Kemp: Matty is also doing well and is progressing right along in his rehab. Don Mattingly came out last week and said that the Dodgers had sat down with Matt to discuss the All-Star break and whether or not he would be able to participate. The agreement that they came up with was that he would be able to compete in the Home Run Derby no matter what, but would not play Center Field in the ASG if he had not yet played a game for the Dodgers. Which is understandable. Donnie has since said that Sue Falsone and the Dodgers training staff are now working to not only allow Matt to compete in the Home Run Derby, but also manage to work that into his rehab as well.
“The plan right now is that it would be part of what he’s doing. We’re going to try to build it into the program.” Mattingly said.
Don went on to add that Matt still has another round of testing to do on his hamstring before he starts his rehab assignment, but that there is a chance he could start his rehab assignment before the All Star Break.
Andre Ethier: ‘Dre, as we all know in that dreaded Giants’ series, tweaked his left oblique in a slide to second. Good news for us all, is that it wouldn’t require a DL stint. I know that oblique’s are incredibly touchy injuries and depending on the severity, could literally take months to heal, but Don and Andre have both said it was a very minor injury, and they are just playing it safe. ‘Dre is still sore, but he says that he expects to be back in the lineup either tonight or tomorrow. Judging by the way they have played it so far, my guess would be tomorrow night, but we’ll see when the lineup card’s scratched in.
Ted Lilly: Ted’s recovery is still moving along slowly, but moving along nonetheless. Last Friday he made a big improvement and made about 15 soft throws. I know that may not sound like much, but initial reports were saying that his shoulder inflammation would cause Lilly to undergo an operation, so the fact he can make throws without it, is a huge progression. Don said that they will continue to take it slow and cautious with Lilly. Luckily for everyone, Eovaldi has done a very nice job (contrary to his win-loss record) replacing Lilly in the rotation, so we don’t have to rush anything. There has not yet been a timetable on his return.
Javy Guerra: Javy underwent right knee surgery on June 5th, and has made a very good recovery from that. He is said to possibly be ready for a rehab assignment as early as this upcoming week. He threw back-to-back bullpen sessions on Thursday and Friday and is progressing along nicely. Similarly, there is no timetable set for Javy’s return either.
My best guess would be that if everyone stays on the pace they are at, and we don’t have any setbacks, we could be looking to be full strength by the end of July, if not a week or two before. At this point, it will almost be weird to have all of our players back again. I can’t imagine the strength of our lineup with all of our players healthy, and a successful trade deadline. Only time will tell…
Dodgers get cinco on Cinco De Mayo,which is plenty for Capuano as he gets the job done with both the bat and the arm, as the Dodgers go on to beat the Chicago Cubs 5-1.
Capuano held the Cubs scoreless through 7 innings and also doubled in a pair of runs to help his cause. Capuano is proving that he can definitely be more than just a fifth spot in the rotation of the number one team in the national league west. With the 7 shutout innings today, that brings his consecutive scoreless innings count to 18 2/3. One of the few rare tough situations he got in tonight was in the first inning. After a Dee Gordon/Jerry Hairston Jr. mishap that allowed David DeJesus on board, a one out single to Starlin Castro, and finally a walk to Bryan LaHair, Capuano was looking at bases loaded with one gone. He stayed calm as can be and went on to strikeout the next two batters looking.
Bobby Abreu, in just his second game wearing Dodger blue, got his first hit for his new club and also got in the scoring mix as he knocked a double down the third base line, to later be driven in by…you guessed it…Chris Capuano’s two rbi double.
Matt Kemp let beastmode off the leash yet again, this time flashing his glove as he made a tremendous play to end the seventh inning and cap off capuano’s gem.
Ronald Belisario, making his first pitching performance since 2010, looked extremely solid throwing a perfect eighth inning, and only using 11 pitches to do so. He appears to have his velocity back and in control. His sinker was getting clocked consistently around 93 in the inning. “If we get the guy from ’09, the back-end guy that we can use earlier in the game, it’s a real addition,” said Mattingly. “It’s just another power arm if he’s throwing like that — a big bonus for us.”
If the game didn’t include a little of everything as is, there was also a moment of comedic relief in the fifth inning. With Abreu up to bat, the umpire was calling balls that were – well let’s just say interesting – that Ted Lilly didn’t seem to agree with. When Lilly decided to let home plate umpire Tim Timmons what he thought of it, Timmons would have no part of it and ejected Lilly. Mattingly, originally confused on who he threw out, ran out to argue. After he found out it wasn’t Matty or ‘Dre, it was all smiles and laughter in the Dodger dugout as Lilly walked down and into the clubhouse.
Dodgers wrap up the series tomorrow in Chicago as the rubber match starts at 11:20 PT. Aaron Harang is on the mound facing Travis Wood, making his Cubs Debut. You can watch it live on PRIME or on mlb.tv.