Blake scratched after batting practice

Updated: June 4, 2010, 12:16 AM ET
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake was scratched from the starting lineup for Thursday night's game against the Atlanta Braves after he experienced back spasms while taking ground balls during batting practice.

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Blake is listed as day to day, but Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said more would be known after the game, as one of the team doctors planned to examine Blake in the interim.

"He was taking some ground balls, and it kind of tightened up," Conte said. "It could be a couple of days. It didn't seem like it was the disc, and it didn't seem really bad."

Blake was replaced in the starting lineup by Jamey Carroll.

Schlichting optioned, Haeger activated

Travis Schlichting's reward for pitching four shutout innings against Arizona on Wednesday and coming away with his first major league victory after the Dodgers scored in the bottom of the 14th to win it? A ticket back to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Schlichting was optioned before Thursday night's game against the Atlanta Braves, mostly because the marathon game the day before had so sapped the bullpen that club officials felt they needed to add insurance. They activated knuckleballer Charlie Haeger from the 15-day disabled list, even though they weren't convinced he was ready.

"We activated Haeger more out of necessity,'' Torre said. "I would feel better if I was a little surer of his physical well-being."

Haeger went on the DL on May 9 with what was described as plantar fasciitis. He was struggling as a starter at the time and the Dodgers needed a roster spot. What has Torre concerned now is a foot injury Haeger sustained during one of his minor league rehabilitation starts.

Torre said he still plans for rookie Carlos Monasterios, who pitched five shutout innings in his third major-league start on Wednesday and is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA as a starter, to pitch the next time the fifth spot in the rotation comes up on Monday against St. Louis. But he also plans to have Haeger -- who is 0-4 with an 10.31 ERA in his five starts this season -- make at least one start fairly soon, preferably before reliever George Sherrill comes off the DL.

Sherrill, who already is on a minor league rehab assignment, is eligible to return Tuesday.

"We still have to find out about Haeger," Torre said. "As soon as we find out that physically he is OK, we're going to start him and find out what we have at this point. It isn't that we don't trust Monasterios, but we still have some decisions about our pitchers because another pitcher is coming off the DL shortly and that is Sherrill.''

Lindblom back to relief

Josh Lindblom, arguably the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, is being converted back into a reliever after what essentially was a failed effort to make him a starter. The former closer for Purdue University, whom the Dodgers drafted in the second round in 2008, went 2-1 with a 7.06 ERA in 10 starts for Albuquerque this season.

Lindblom allowed 80 hits in 51 innings, and opposing batters hit .349 against him -- a glaring figure even in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Lindblom is working out at the Dodgers' spring-training facility in Glendale, Ariz., getting the same, weeklong break from throwing that assistant general manager for player development DeJon Watson gives his starting pitchers after 10 starts.

"When he gets back, we're probably going to transition him back to the bullpen,'' Watson said. "I think he is better suited to the bullpen. It's just his delivery and his stuff, and I think this will give him a chance to help our big league club at some point this year. We just want to get him back to where he was at the end of last year."

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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