Casey Blake may go on DL
Blake made a middle-of-the-night trip to a South Florida hospital when symptoms of a bursa infection in his left elbow worsened. He received an IV and antibiotics and was released. The Dodgers wrapped up a three-game series against the Florida Marlins with 5-4 win Wednesday. He was expected to fly back to Los Angeles with the team following the game and receive further treatment there.
Blake said he wasn't completely resigned to a DL stint, but he also conceded that a minor surgical procedure might be necessary to completely clean out the infection.
"it's just going to take a little while," Blake said. "When I get back, it's possible we'll have to go in there and clean out the bursa."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said trainer Stan Conte told him Blake might be lost for a period of about four weeks. Blake said after Wednesday's game that he was feeling much better than he had been earlier in the day, and he credited the antibiotics he had received for that.
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"We have to be careful," Mattingly said. "Obviously, it's some type of infection. It's one of those situations you can't really play around with. I think Stan feels good that we got started on this yesterday and didn't let anything get out of hand. I'm not quite sure when we'll get him back, but there is a possibility of this thing being long term."
It isn't entirely clear how the infection developed, but Conte said earlier this week that injuries such as these typically occur as a result of banging an elbow on something, which Blake said he doesn't remember doing. In Sunday's game in Chicago, Blake was hit by a pitch in the first inning and also dived for a ball at third base, either of which presumably could have caused the injury.
Mattingly said Russ Mitchell, who primarily is a third baseman and presently is the only infielder on the Dodgers' 40-man roster who isn't either in the majors or on the major league disabled list, is the likely call-up.
Mitchell is hitting .214 at Triple-A Albuquerque, but he was 7-for-20 with a double and two home runs in a five-game stretch before going 0-for-4 Tuesday night against New Orleans.
"He has been swinging the bat pretty good lately even though he started off slowly," Mattingly said. "That would probably be our first thought, although it could be one of the other guys, too."
Mitchell, a 15th-round draft pick in 2003, hit .143 in 15 games for the Dodgers last season after he was called up for the first time as part of September's roster expansion.
Blake began the season on the DL with a lower-thoracic injury he suffered in spring training and missed the first five games before being activated. He is one of seven players expected to play significant roles for the Dodgers this season who already are either on or have been on the DL.
"I can't even explain it," Blake said when asked about his frustration level. "You just kind of scratch your head and go, 'Really?' It has been such a bizarre start to the season. You feel like you're letting your teammates down because you want to be out there with them, plus we were playing good, too."
Blake, 37, is hitting .321 with two homers, six RBIs and a .446 on-base percentage in 14 games this season. He is in the final guaranteed season of a three-year, $17.5 million contract that also has a $6 million club option for 2012.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.