DODGERS NOTEBOOK Furcal hurting with bum back

first_imgControl problems Right-hander Esteban Loaiza is averaging 2.6 walks per nine innings over the course of his 13 seasons in the majors. But in his past two starts, his second and third since the Dodgers claimed him off waivers from Oakland on Aug. 29, he has uncharacteristically walked 11 batters in eight innings, only one of which was intentional. What that suggests isn’t entirely clear. “It could be any of several things,” pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “For him, he isn’t a guy who has historically been wild. But he is kind of a spot pitcher who is basically missing his spots. That could be a matter of trying to do too much or trying to be a little bit too fine.” Loaiza will throw his regular session today and is scheduled to start Friday night at Arizona. As Little pointed out, there really are no alternatives. But the Dodgers are operating with a 16-man pitching staff for September, so Loaiza will be on a short leash. “That goes without saying,” Little said. “But that isn’t just for him. At this point in the season, that is pretty much everyone.” Honeycutt wondered aloud whether Loaiza might be going through a simple dead-arm period, a plausible theory given that Loaiza has made five starts since missing most of the season while recovering from knee surgery. Five starts into spring training is about the point when a lot of pitchers struggle with the same problem after not pitching all winter. Tough afternoon Right-hander Chad Billingsley suffered his first loss in more than a month in the opener, when he allowed just four hits over 51/3 innings. Although Billingsley was perfect through the first two innings and faced the minimum through three, he later said he never felt comfortable at any point. “I didn’t feel like I had my good fastball,” Billingsley said. “I was just trying to make good, quality pitches down in the zone and trying to get ground balls, but it just didn’t happen. I just went out there and battled to try to get outs as quickly as possible, but they laid off some good pitches and made me get deep in counts.” Playoff tickets Fans wishing to order National League Division Series single-game tickets for possible games at Dodger Stadium may do so only by registering at www.dodgers.com by Sept. 24. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Tony Jackson STAFF WRITER DENVER – Shortstop Rafael Furcal left the opening game of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader because of tightness in his lower back. He could not play in the second game and is listed as day-to-day. The injury also dealt another blow to the Dodgers’ fading playoff hopes. “It is that,” Manager Grady Little said. “He is a guy who has played through a lot of aches and pains, but this just got too bad for him there late in the game.” It also was merely the latest blow to Furcal, who has battled lingering pain all season in the left ankle he severely sprained in spring training. That injury isn’t expected to fully heal until after the season, when Furcal has time to rest it. Furcal has no history of back problems. Little said Furcal initially hurt himself sliding into a base over the weekend. Olmedo Saenz batted for Furcal in the seventh inning and hit his first home run since his walk-off shot against Toronto on June 8, providing the Dodgers’ only run in a 3-1 loss. Wilson Valdez played the rest of the game at shortstop, and Ramon Martinez started the nightcap at short. It marked just the 13th time this season that Furcal hasn’t been in the starting lineup, and nine of those came at the beginning of the season while Furcal was still on the disabled list with the ankle sprain. last_img

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