Ronald Belisario came out of nowhere to make the Dodgers out of spring training, and the team is worried that he could be gone just as fast as he arrived. The rookie right-hander, who leads the Dodgers in appearances with 43, is suffering from a stiff elbow and will have to fly back to Los Angeles from New York, where the Dodgers are in the midst of a three-game series with the Mets.
Belisario is expected to have an MRI done on the same elbow on which he had Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Manager Joe Torre often cites the bullpen as the reason the Dodgers have held the best record in baseball for most of the season. Belisario has been a big part of the success.
He made the team out of spring training, after never pitching above the Class AA level. He was signed 10 years ago by the Florida Marlins and was a free agent last offseason after last pitching in the Pirates organization.
Using a new two-seam fastball that breaks in on left-handed hitters, he was able to fashion a 2.42 ERA in 48.1 innings, giving up 20 walks with 46 strikeouts.
After initially serving as the mop-up reliever, Belisario had moved into the seventh-inning role about a month ago behind new setup man Ramon Troncoso. Now the Dodgers will have to rely on Guillermo Mota and James McDonald in Belisario's role.
Cory Wade, who likely would be recalled if Belisario goes on the disabled list as expected, was supposed to pitch in the seventh-inning role this season, but inconsistencies led to his demotion to Class AAA Albuquerque.
Still a kid at age 21, left-hander Clayton Kershaw has managed to stand tall despite continued growing pains.
Kershaw took the mound at Citi Field against the New York Mets with an ERA that somehow kept dropping, all while his walk totals have been soaring.
But for the third consecutive start, Kershaw showcased the talent that everyone has noticed. All he has needed was to be consistent and after holding the Mets to three hits and no run over seven innings, perhaps he is getting a handle on that.
He now has a 3.27 ERA after 17 starts and has steadily whittled his walk totals down as his his 6-5 record will attest. He has allowed only 66 hits in 93 innings, has struck out 95 and allowed an opponent's batting average of .200.
Kershaw has walked at least four batters in seven of his last 11 starts, leading to inflated pitch counts in the early innings. He has lasted six innings just three since the start of June.
His last start might have offered some of his biggest lessons yet. Not only did Kershaw find out that he can do well even when everything isn't going smoothly, he also learned to not take the little things so lightly.
"I think sometimes when pitchers come up you know that all you have to do is throw strikes to get them out, and sometimes that's hard to do," Kershaw said. "You need to go right after it and be competitive."
--RHP Chad Billingsley, RHP Jonathan Broxton and 2B Orlando Hudson all are headed to next week's All-Star Game, making it the first time since 1995 the Dodgers will have at least three players headed to the contest. In '95, the team sent five players: Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, Jose Offerman, Mike Piazza and Todd Worrell.
--Manager Joe Torre held his annual charity golf tournament Monday at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff, N.Y., and his foursome included Donald Trump and former President Clinton. The tournament, in its sixth year, benefits Torre's Safe at Home Foundation, which focuses on domestic violence.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Times in the past 18 seasons that a Dodgers second baseman has been named to the National League All-Star team, those being Orlando Hudson (2009) and Jeff Kent (2005). In the 14 seasons prior to 1992, no fewer than five Dodgers second basemen -- Davey Lopes (1978-81), Steve Sax (1982-83 and 1986), Willie Randolph (1989) and Juan Samuel (1991) -- were named to the N.L. All-Star team a total of nine times.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't want to get into my medical records right now. I am happy to be here, I missed the game, and I am ready to play." -- Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez, who repeatedly refused to address the issue of his actions that led to a 50-game probable-cause suspension for violating baseball's drug policy. Ramirez addressed reporters just before his first game back from his suspension.
--RHP Jeff Weaver will move from his long-relief role and into the rotation as expected for Saturday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. He will take the place of LHP Eric Milton, who was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a strained back muscle. It will be the fifth start of the season for Weaver, who has turned a non-roster invitation to spring training into a productive season. He is 5-2 with a 3.32 ERA.
--LF Manny Ramirez won't shed a tear over the demolition of Shea Stadium. He was just 1-for-11 (.091) there in his career. That one hit at Shea, though, was a home run. Ramirez was even happier to see Philadelphia's Veteran's Stadium come tumbling to the ground. He was 0-for-11 in the Phillies' old park. The Dodgers opened a three-game series Tuesday at Citi Field, Shea Stadium's replacement, and Ramirez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs before he was ejected.
--INF Blake DeWitt, who was recalled from Class AAA Albuquerque this week to give the Dodgers a left-handed presence off the bench, continues to feast off New York Mets pitching. DeWitt's pinch home run Tuesday was his fourth career home run against the Mets. He has just 10 home runs in his brief big-league career.
*M*A*S*H* 4077 Report:
LHP Eric Milton (back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28.
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, but he was shut down June 24 due to an ailing elbow.
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 began a new rehab assignment with Albuquerque on June 21.
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 began a minor league rehab assignment June 30 and was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 3.
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 Jonathan Broxton
RHP Guillermo Mota
RHP Ronald Belisario
RHP Ramon Troncoso
LHP Brent Leach
RHP James McDonald
RHP Jeff Weaver
RHP Claudio Vargas
1B James Loney
2B Orlando Hudson
SS Rafael Furcal
3B Casey Blake
INF Juan Castro
INF Mark Loretta
INF Blake DeWitt
LF Manny Ramirez
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
OF Juan Pierre