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Dodgers Rotation Up in the Air

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Last night’s 9-5 loss in 12 innings against the Atlanta Braves has thrown a monkey wrench in the Dodgers pitching rotation.

After Jason Schmidt was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, Scott Elbert was supposed to take his spot to start in Sunday’s game. However Elbert was sent to pitch in the 12th inning after Ramon Troncoso allowed runners to get on first and second and gave up the winning RBI single and three-run homer by Ryan Church.

“We had [Elbert] there in the event we needed him,” Torre said of using Elbert in last night’s game. “Once the two men got on base and the lefthander [at bat] we decided we needed to do whatever we could in that situation.”

After batting practice today it was announced that Elbert was designated for assignment and reliever Ronald Belisario was activated from the 15-day disabled list.

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Whether or not an additional move via waiver-wire trade or a minor leaguer such as Eric Stults or knuckleballer Charlie Haeger will be brought up is still up in the air to shore up the rotation.

“It could be someone from the outside, we haven’t decided on that yet,” Torre said.

“We’ve got to take the temperature here,” Torre elaborated. “We’ve got [Jeff] Weaver whose an option, but he’s our long [reliever] tonight. Right now we have some thoughts and have an idea of what we’re going to do, but I don’t think we’re going to know until the game today.”

Adding further concern to the pitching depth was starter Chad Billingsley leaving the game with a left hamstring strain after getting on base in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“[His hamstring] felt pretty good today, but it’s still a question mark on Wednesday,” Torre said of Billingsley’s likelihood of pitching his next start. “We’ll know more Monday. They’re going to look at him Monday and see where we are. He’ll throw on flat ground on Monday.”

Ever the optimist, Torre said things could be worse.

“The good news about this is if it was something that was really really bad we wouldn’t be talking about it now,” Torre said. “He’d be on the DL. To me the worst [injury] for pitchers is the groin because you never know if it really goes away until you get out there.”

Tonight’s game features Clayton Kershaw facing off against Kenshin Kawakami. Kershaw in his last 10 starts has posted a 1.19 ERA which leads the Majors in that time. Kawakami hasn’t fared as well posting a 4.84 ERA in four starts since the All Star Break. Also of note Tony Abreu will be in the starting lineup for the first time since September 23, 2007 and playing third base, and Russell Martin will be taking the day off.

Here are the lineups.

Atlanta Braves

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  1. Ryan Church, CF
  2. Martin Prado, 3B
  3. Garret Anderson, LF
  4. Yunel Escobar, SS
  5. Matt Diaz, RF
  6. Adam LaRoche, 1B
  7. David Ross, C
  8. Diory Hernandez, 2B
  9. Kanshin Kawakami, P

LA Dodgers

  1. Rafael furcal, SS
  2. Andre Ethier, RF
  3. Manny Ramirez, LF
  4. Matt Kemp, CF
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  7. Tony Abreu, 3B
  8. Brad Ausmus, C
  9. Clayton Kershaw, P
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