Manny ... back in action soon
Manny Ramirez is expected to begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment, which he is allowed in advance of the end of his suspension, on June 25 with Inland Empire. That will mark Ramirez's first live game action since he learned after the Dodgers' game against Washington on May 6 that he was facing a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's joint drug program.
The location for the rehab assignment was chosen more because of convenience than for any other reason. Inland Empire plays its home games in San Bernardino, Calif., 40 or so miles from Dodger Stadium, so Ramirez won't have to pack a suitcase.
Ramirez is allowed 10 days on a rehab assignment, which means he would be eligible to begin that assignment Tuesday -- exactly 10 days before he is eligible to rejoin the Dodgers on July 3 at San Diego. But because the California League will be on its All-Star break then, Ramirez won't start his rehab until two days later, when the 66ers begin a three-game series at Lake Elsinore. The 66ers return home after that series to face Rancho Cucamonga.
Ramirez conceivably could remain with Inland Empire for the first two games of a subsequent series at Visalia on July 1-2, but he doesn't think he will need that many at-bats to be in game shape for his return.
--SS Rafael Furcal extended his hitting streak to 10 games, but just barely. Furcal was credited with a single in the ninth inning Wednesday when he reached on a groundball to 2B Adam Kennedy, who made a tough scoop to his right, then double-clutched before bouncing a throw to first too late. Furcal would have had a good chance to beat it out even if Kennedy had fielded it cleanly. It was Furcal's only hit of the evening, and he is batting .294 (10-for-34) during his streak, with one hit in each of the 10 games.
--RF Mitch Jones collected his first major league hit to go with the 928 he has in his 10 minor league seasons. Pinch-hitting for RHP Guillermo Mota in the eighth inning, Jones, 31, singled on a blooper that fell in shallow right field, just out of the reach of Oakland 2B Adam Kennedy. Jones is expected to be the Dodgers' designated hitter in at least one of the three games against the Angels in Anaheim this weekend.
--Manager Joe Torre captured his 2,194th career win Tuesday. That moved him into a tie with Sparky Anderson for fifth place on the all-time managerial list. Torre will have a difficult time moving further up that list, though, because the third- and fourth-place managers (Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, respectively) are still active and are more than 150 wins ahead of Torre, who is expected to retire after next season.
--RHP Ramon Troncoso has pitched 13 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings before giving up four runs in the eighth inning Tuesday night. Troncoso also had gone 43 2/3 consecutive innings, dating to last Sept. 25, without allowing a home run. That streak ended when Oakland's Jason Giambi blasted a three-run shot off Troncoso with one out, giving the A's a 3-2 lead.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- Home runs by Dodgers designated hitters in the 13-year history of interleague play, and none since 2007. Chad Kreuter, Mike Kinkade, Olmedo Saenz and Luis Gonzalez are the only Dodgers players to hit home runs in regular-season, interleague play as DHs. Before Russell Martin went 1-for-4 with a single on Sunday at Texas, Dodgers DHs all-time were hitting a collective .230 with a .316 on-base percentage and a .325 slugging average.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I cough a lot. My abs have been getting a really good workout." -- LHP Randy Wolf, to the Los Angeles Times, on the subject of a persistent cough that he has dealt with for about a month. Wolf went on to say he had been told by a Los Angeles doctor that he probably has bronchitis. Wolf took the mound as scheduled, despite his cough, June 13 and proceeded to pitch five shutout innings against Texas.
--RHP Jeff Weaver was told that he will draw a spot start Saturday against the Angels. More specifically, he will draw a spot start against his younger brother, Angels RHP Jered Weaver. The two have never started against each other in the major leagues, and this will mark the first time since Sept. 6, 2002, when the Cubs' Alan Benes and Cardinals' Andy Benes did it, that two brothers will start against each other in the major leagues.
--RHP Jonathan Broxton was unavailable for Wednesday night's game, although he ultimately wasn't needed. Broxton received a cortisone shot in the big toe of his right foot, where he has been experiencing discomfort. Manager Joe Torre said before the game that because the toe was on Broxton's push-off leg, it affected his fastball velocity.
--RHP Jason Schmidt (shoulder) threw 97 pitches in an extended spring training game. Unofficially, that marked the resumption of Schmidt's minor league rehabilitation assignment, which was shut down a few weeks ago when he continued to experience discomfort in his surgically repaired shoulder. Still, this didn't count against the 30-day limit on pitchers' rehabs because it wasn't in an actual minor league game.
**M*A*S*H* 4077 MEDICAL WATCH:
RHP Jason Schmidt (right shoulder surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 16. He made the first of two rehab starts for Class A Inland Empire on May 12. He started for Class AAA Albuquerque on May 23, but he was shut down May 26 because of right shoulder irritation. He pitched a simulated game June 12, then threw in extended spring training June 17.
LHP Eric Milton (strained back) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6.
LHP Eric Stults (sprained left thumb) went on the 15-day disabled list May 31.
RHP Claudio Vargas (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to April 6. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on June 2.
LHP Will Ohman (sore left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 29. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on June 16.
OF Xavier Paul (staph infection) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 21.
LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (left elbow strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 30. He resumed baseball activities in mid-May, and he threw a simulated game in late May.
INF Doug Mientkiewicz (dislocated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list April 17, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 30. He had surgery April 20, and he is unlikely to return before September.
LHP Randy Wolf
RHP Chad Billingsley
LHP Clayton Kershaw
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
RHP Jeff Weaver
RHP Jonathan Broxton
RHP Cory Wade
RHP Guillermo Mota
RHP Ronald Belisario
RHP Ramon Troncoso
LHP Brent Leach
RHP Travis Schlichting
1B James Loney
2B Orlando Hudson
SS Rafael Furcal
3B Casey Blake
INF Juan Castro
INF Mark Loretta
LF Juan Pierre
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
OF Mitch Jones