Dodgers' Greene fractures finger in first inning

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers invited a
well-traveled pitcher to spring training last season and struck
gold with Jose Lima.

Now they hope Scott Erickson follows the same script.

Erickson pitched six sharp innings for his first NL victory in
the Dodgers' 8-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday
night. He allowed two runs, four hits and three walks in six
innings after getting staked to a 5-0 lead.

Erickson was limited to only six starts last season with the
Rangers and Mets after recovering from surgery to repair a torn
labrum in his pitching shoulder. That injury cost him the entire
2003 season.

"I felt very solid about my chances of making the team,"
Erickson said. "This year I wasn't concerned about health because
I pitched all season last year -- unfortunately, it was in the minor

The Padres' Khalil Greene won't be playing shortstop for a few
weeks after another finger injury. Greene, who had his impressive
rookie season cut short by a broken finger, fractured the ring
finger on his right hand while trying to field a poor throw in the
first inning.

Erickson (1-0) compiled a 141-131 record in the AL, including a
career-high 20 wins for the 1991 World Series champion Minnesota
Twins. He was 0-1 in two starts for the Mets last season before
getting traded to Texas on July 31.

The 16-year veteran right-hander, who earned the fifth spot in
the Dodgers' rotation as a non-roster invitee, gave up six runs
over 4 1/3 innings a week earlier at Arizona in his Dodgers debut.

"That obviously wasn't what I wanted to do in my first
appearance with the Dodgers, so the worst thing I could have done
tonight was make it seem like I didn't know what I was doing,"
Erickson said.

"Hopefully, we're back on track now. They know I'm healthy and
they know I can throw the ball. I know that spring training wasn't
a fluke, and hopefully this proved to them that they made a good

Ricky Ledee homered and Jason Phillips had a pair of RBI singles
for the Dodgers, who have won four straight. Their 8-2 start is the
franchise's best since 1981, when they won the World Series.

The Padres, who already have center fielder Dave Roberts and
backup second baseman Eric Young on the disabled list, lost Greene
when catcher Ramon Hernandez made a poor throw trying to catch
Cesar Izturis stealing second. Greene tried to make a backhand stop
to the left of second base and injured his finger.

"I don't think about getting hurt, but it's something you have
to come to terms with -- especially in an athletic profession where
injuries are a part of the game," said Greene, who is expected to
be sidelined three to four weeks.

"Not only could you be injured for a couple of weeks at any
point in time, but a career-ending injury could be around any
corner," Greene said. "So you just have to accept that fact and
deal with it."

The Padres will wait before putting Green on the DL, just in
case they need him as a pinch-runner on Sunday. They probably won't
make a roster move until Monday, when Roberts is expected to be
activated. But for now, Geoff Blum and Jesse Garcia will take over
at shortstop.

Greene broke his right index finger last year trying to field a
hard-hit grounder by Antonio Perez last Sept. 13 at Dodger Stadium.

"It's extremely coincidental, especially being a hand injury,"
Greene said. "I've always felt good playing here, but I just
haven't seemed to have the best luck in terms of performance or
health-wise. But what are you going to do?"

Phil Nevin's leadoff single in the second was San Diego's only
hit off the 37-year-old Erickson through the first 5 1-3 innings.
But Mark Loretta and Brian Giles singled with one out in the sixth,
Ryan Klesko doubled home Loretta, and Giles scored on Nevin's
groundout, narrowing the gap to 5-2.

The Dodgers built their 5-0 lead in the first three innings
against Adam Eaton (1-1), who had allowed just one run in the 22
innings he pitched at Dodger Stadium last season. Two of the runs
were unearned, the result of throwing errors by Hernandez and Giles
in right field.

J.D. Drew delivered the Dodgers' first run with a sacrifice fly
to the warning track in left. Before that, he had gone 43 plate
appearances without an RBI. The eight-year veteran, who signed a
five-year, $55 million contract in December, drove in 93 runs last
season for Atlanta.

Milton Bradley and Phillips added RBI singles in the fifth
against Eaton, who entered with a 4-0 career record at Chavez
Ravine. He allowed five runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in six

Game notes
Jeff Kent was thrown out at the plate by Giles while trying
to score behind Drew on Bradley's third-inning single. But Kent did
score on Phillips' RBI single in the eighth, extending his streak
to nine consecutive games with a run scored. The L.A. Dodger record
is 11 straight, set by Davey Lopes in May 1979 and tied by Shawn
Green in 2002. ... Erickson's only previous start against the
Padres was on June 10, 2002, at Baltimore, when he allowed four
runs over 5 1-3 innings in a no-decision. The Orioles won that
interleague game 8-6.