Nomo has allowed 16 homers this season

Updated: July 2, 2004, 2:09 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Hideo Nomo, winless in his last nine decisions, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with inflammation in his right rotator cuff.

However, Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said it's likely Nomo would be sidelined longer than that.

Hideo Nomo
Starting Pitcher
Los Angeles Dodgers
14 3 10 0 37 8.06

"It's pretty clear he's not right," said DePodesta, emphasizing that he's interested in obtaining a player who can best help the team, regardless of position.

"I'm still definitely a buyer," he said.

The Dodgers purchased the contract of right-hander Giovanni Carrara from Triple-A Las Vegas, where he was 0-1 with two saves and a 2.51 ERA in 11 games.

Nomo was scheduled for an MRI on Friday.

"It's not like excruciating pain, it's more like an inflammation," he said through a translator. "I can't get strength behind my pitches. I want to have a fresh start and give my shoulder some rest."

After being one of the Dodgers' top pitchers the previous two seasons, Nomo (3-10) has given up 16 homers this season, the most on the staff. He gave up three, including a three-run shot by Barry Bonds, in a 7-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night. He has an 8.80 ERA in his last 10 starts.

"His command has not been anywhere near what we've seen the last couple of years," manager Jim Tracy said. "He has a very intricate windup. Timing is also a big issue for him, which strongly suggests mechanics. He feels his timing is not right and his balance is not completely right."

Nomo hasn't won since a 9-4 victory April 21 at Colorado.

Tracy has noticed Nomo doesn't have the same velocity from his windup to stretch position.

"He's having trouble throwing his split-finger for strikes and that's the key," catcher Paul Lo Duca said Wednesday. "When you're getting behind guys and having to throw fastballs, you're going to get hurt. His arm strength is getting better and better, but mechanically, there's something that's just not right."

Nomo, who turns 36 in August, missed two weeks last September because of inflammation in the same area. He underwent offseason shoulder surgery and has yet to revert to his old form.

"I've always experienced little things in my shoulder," Nomo said. "I don't think the team should have put me on the DL earlier. I wanted to help the team."

Before Wednesday's game, Tracy said he had no alternatives other than keeping Nomo in the starting rotation. But another poor outing demanded a change.

Tracy said there's no timetable for Nomo's return.

"If Nomo were to be able to come back, he would be a pretty intriguing guy to show up later in the season knowing the type of big-game pitcher he is," Tracy said.

Tracy said left-hander Wilson Alvarez could make a spot start in place of Nomo on Monday. Right-hander Brian Falkenborg from Triple-A Las Vegas also is a candidate.

Tracy said Carrara will only be used in a relief role, even though he started some games for the Dodgers in 2001-02. Overall, Carrara has a 12-4 record and a 3.22 ERA in 110 games. The team signed him to a minor league contract on June 2.

"He knows the league, he knows the players, he has experience," Dodgers shortstop Cesar Izturis said about Carrara. "He'll be good for the team."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press