Wed Jul 16 08:25am EDT
With leading hitter Rafael Furcal and opening day starter Brad Penny already on the disabled list, the Dodgers learned Tuesday that they will be without closer Takashi Saito until at least late August. Saito, 38, was diagnosed by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache with a sprained ligament in his right elbow and will placed on the 15-day DL when the Dodgers resume playing on Friday in Arizona. . He will rehabilitate in Los Angeles for an estimated six weeks, after which he will be reevaluated.
General Manager Ned Colletti said in a statement released by the team that acquiring a replacement for Saito prior to the July 31 would be difficult, adding that the Dodgers had "candidates within the staff" — a sign that hard-throwing 24-year old setup man Jonathan Broxton would get a shot at closing.
Less clear was who would replace Broxton, who has a 3.40 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 39²⁄³ innings, as the Dodgers' eighth-inning man. Manager Joe Torre said that Hong-Chih Kuo had the mental makeup for the job, but admitted that the left-hander's history of injuries made him weary of burdening him with a heavy workload. Joe Beimel is also a candidate, Torre said.
Saito is 3-3 with 17 saves and a 2.18 earned-run average in 39 appearances. He has saved 80 games in his three seasons with the Dodgers, including 39 last year, when he was an All-Star.