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Dodgers notebook, 6/28

June 28, 2011 Comments off

Broxton to be shut down for three weeks

MINNEAPOLIS — After having an MRI on his elbow on Monday, Jonathan Broxton will be shut down for three weeks, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Broxton felt pain in his elbow Sunday, and the MRI showed that he is still dealing with the bone bruise that put him on the disabled list in May. In a best-case scenario, he could return to the Dodgers some time in August.

Though Broxton felt ready to return before two rehab outings, the bone bruise either never fully healed or returned after he got back on the mound.

“You get out there on the field and you use another gear, and obviously when he got to that, that’s when he felt it again,” Mattingly said. “Or it came from it, at least. He didn’t feel it at the time, but he obviously irritated it to the point where it came back.”

Mattingly said that he is prepared to continue with a closer-by-committee approach for now, choosing who will close out games based on the situations and matchups. He also noted that Javy Guerra has emerged as the best option in the back end of the bullpen.

But with an injury that has already lasted much longer than expected, there’s a chance Broxton could not pitch again for the Dodgers this season.

“We’re at a timetable now that’s getting to be so far out again that — he did that once, he did the three weeks, the slow return and all that, and we got back to here,” Mattingly said. “It’s just hard to say, you know, ‘We’re going to get him in six weeks, or seven weeks, or eight weeks.’

“To me, at this point, if he gets back, great, all the better. But you’ve got to kind of move forward.”

Barajas could play rehab games this weekend

MINNEAPOLIS — Catcher Rod Barajas (right ankle sprain) could play in rehab games this weekend, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said before Tuesday’s game at Target Field.

Barajas, who has been on the disabled list since June 19, has been taking batting practice, throwing and participating in other baseball activities.

“Right now, he seems to be either on track or right there — right on it,” Mattingly said. “It could be a couple of days, to make sure [he’s ready].”

Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal (strained left oblique) continues to rehab with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Furcal had four at-bats Monday night while leading off and playing shortstop. He finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Mattingly said he believed Furcal was scheduled for nine innings at shortstop Tuesday night, and would DH on Wednesday. Furcal still has no target date for his return.

“He’s doing well,” Mattingly said. “We want him to be ready.”

Gwynn on a tear recently for Dodgers

MINNEAPOLIS — After the game Monday night, someone had put tape over the name on the back of Tony Gwynn’s jersey. On the tape, they had written the name Caleb.

Before discussing his four-hit game as a part of the Dodgers’ 15-0 victory over the Twins at Target Field, Gwynn explained the significance of the name.

“Caleb was one of the people God chose to go look at some land, and when they went to go look at it, all the people who were also chosen to go look saw how strong and powerful the people who were already on the land were, and convinced everybody else not to try and go fight for this land,” Gwynn said.

“And Caleb felt like, with what God provided, they didn’t have to worry, they were going to be alright. … We had that in chapel the other day, so I’ve been trying to use it as my motivation.”

Whatever is motivating Gwynn, it’s been working over the last two days.

In the Dodgers’ victories Sunday and Monday over the Angels and Twins, Gwynn hit .636, collecting seven hits in 11 at-bats, including a walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday. Gwynn also scored two runs with a triple, three RBIs, two stolen bases and an outfield assist over that stretch.

Gwynn sparked the offense Monday, as they matched a club record with 25 hits and set a new season high with 15 runs.

“We were able to just find holes and hit balls hard,” Gwynn said. “When we didn’t hit balls hard, we found holes. I think that was just one of those games you enjoy being part of and getting the ‘W’ out of it.

“We definitely haven’t had enough of those. … Just finding holes and getting calls here and there, we haven’t had enough of that. It’s nice to get a victory like that.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dodgers notebook, 6/27

June 27, 2011 Comments off

Broxton takes step back, Furcal progressing

MINNEAPOLIS — Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton underwent an MRI exam on Monday after feeling pain in his elbow while playing catch Sunday at Class A Rancho Cucamonga.

Broxton, who was previously on schedule to return this weekend, also was set to see Dr. Neal ElAttrache after having the MRI.

“It definitely wasn’t a good thing,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. “The fact that he took a lot of time off, slowly came back, [pitched] two outings, and then have maybe a day and a half, two days later he’s having elbow [issues] and it’s doing the same thing. …

“That’s not a good thing and it kind of shifts the rehab to a point where we’ve got to find out what’s going on again.”

Mattingly also gave a quick update on shortstop Rafael Furcal, who also is on a rehab stint with Class A Rancho Cucamonga.

Furcal (strained left oblique) went 2-for-3 on Sunday with three runs scored in the Quakes’ 13-1 victory over the Lancaster JetHawks.

“[He] was good,” Mattingly said. “He DH’d yesterday, he’s going to play short today. No real reports on his swing or anything like that, just the fact that we know he did well.”

Guerrier makes first return trip to Twins country

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Twins right-hander Matt Guerrier made his return to Target Field on Monday for the first time since signing a three-year, $12 million deal with the Dodgers in the offseason.

Guerrier, who posted a combined 3.38 ERA in seven seasons with the Twins and led the American League in appearances in 2008-09, was happy to return to Minnesota, saying there were no hard feelings about leaving.

“It’s good to be back,” Guerrier told reporters. “It’s exciting to see everybody and to come back and see a couple of the changes that’s been done here. It’s different, but exciting.”

Guerrier, who has a 4.50 ERA in 38 innings this year, talked to several of his former teammates during early batting practice, including right-hander Joe Nathan. Nathan said he’s scheduled to meet up with Guerrier after the game, and had nothing but positives to say about his former bullpen mate.

“We miss him on both ends,” Nathan said. “He’s obviously a great guy in the clubhouse and kept guys loose by smiling. Obviously, there’s what he does on the field. He was leading the league in appearances and all that, so guys like that are very hard to replace.”

Mattingly, Kershaw address bankruptcy filing

MINNEAPOLIS — Prior to Monday’s game at Target Field, manager Don Mattingly answered questions about the Dodgers filing for bankruptcy for five minutes before getting to any queries related to their play on the field.

The Dodgers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court earlier Monday — which sets in motion the beginning of legal proceedings that will decide the future of Frank McCourt’s ownership — was the main topic of discussion in the visitors’ dugout.

But even as the club’s off-the-field issues have overshadowed what the Dodgers have done on the field, Mattingly insists it’s still business as usual at the ballpark, and the team’s struggles through 79 games are not related to the ownership situation.

“I honestly believe that,” Mattingly said. “I know there’s a lot going on and a lot of talk about it. And again, I think it’s an area that, to really say that that’s not getting a hit with runners in scoring position or making a pitch with a guy in scoring position or any of that … I think it’s just not true.”

The Dodgers entered their Interleague series against the Twins with a 35-44 record, sitting 9 1/2 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants.

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, like his manager, sees no correlation between the off-field issues and the on-field play.

“I really don’t think so,” Kershaw said. “You see the guys in this room, you see guys like Matt [Kemp] and Andre [Ethier] and James [Loney] is hitting really well right now … we’ve got all the pieces. And that’s almost the frustrating part is that we’re not just stringing the wins together like we should.

“But I definitely don’t think what’s going on out there is resulting in a poor team on the field. I think we’ve got good players. We should be playing better than we are, and the good news is we’re not quite halfway there yet, so we’ve still got a shot.”

Mattingly and Kershaw both noted that an e-mail from Peter Wilhelm, the Dodgers’ chief financial officer, was forwarded to everyone on the team, letting them know the club would continue to operate as usual within the organization.

Kershaw said that as a team, they “definitely like to focus on baseball,” and that he hopes the whole situation will be figured out soon.

“I think that’s what everybody wants, whether it’s Mr. McCourt or baseball or us. Everybody wants it just to be settled,” Kershaw said. “That’s kind of what everybody’s going for, it’s just everybody has differences of opinion on how to get there.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Rhett Bollinger contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.