Dodgers expect three to come off DL
CINCINNATI -- Even as the Los Angeles Dodgers appeared on the verge of getting three of their injured players back -- infielder Juan Uribe, reliever Blake Hawksworth and backup outfielder Marcus Thames all are expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list before Monday night's game with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park -- manager Don Mattingly kept his enthusiasm tempered.
"I'm not going to get excited yet,'' Mattingly said, an obvious reference to the fact the Dodgers seem to suffer a new injury almost daily.
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Case in point: Uribe, one of the power bats in their lineup, came dangerously close to extending his disabled-list stint on Saturday night when he was hit on the right hand by a pitch in the bottom of the first inning during a rehabilitation game with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He had been on the DL since May 22 with a left hip flexor strain.
Uribe went to second base for the top of the second inning but left the game with two outs and was taken for X-rays, which Mattingly said were negative.
"He is still on for [Monday],'' Mattingly said.
Hawksworth, who has been on the DL for three weeks with a strained right groin, and Thames, who has been out for a month with a strained right quadriceps, also are ready, meaning the Dodgers will have to make three roster moves.
The most likely reliever to go is rookie Josh Lindblom, who is one of the club's top pitching prospects but has made just one appearance since having his contract purchased from Triple-A Albuquerque a week ago. The infield move for Uribe is almost certain to be Ivan De Jesus Jr., who was called up on Saturday because Rafael Furcal got hurt on Friday night and Uribe wasn't ready.
The outfield move for Thames will be trickier. The usual modus operandi for the Dodgers is to send out the guy who has minor league options so they don't risk losing a player from the organization. In this case, that player is promising rookie Jerry Sands, who also is hitting just .211 since being promoted on April 18. The other candidates would be Jay Gibbons, who is hitting .255 but has heated up of late, and Tony Gwynn Jr., who is hitting .209 and had a horrendous May but probably is the Dodgers' best defensive outfielder and had two key hits in the late innings of Saturday's comeback win over the Cincinnati Reds.
"That is kind of a discussion we have been having a lot,'' Mattingly said. "I'm sure it will be a game-time decision. ... [But] we're going to put our best club out there that can compete, I will say that.''Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.