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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Howell Could Miss Rest of Season

The Dodgers received more bad news about their battered pitching staff Tuesday when Dr. Frank Jobe said that Jay Howell could be lost for the season and Ramon Martinez could miss this weekend’s second showdown series against the Atlanta Braves.

After a day of examinations, Howell was discovered to have an injured medial collateral ligament in his right elbow. It was not a tear, but Jobe said it was serious nonetheless.

“It’s possible (Howell) could be not ready until the end of the season,” Jobe said. “But he could be ready for after-season play.”

Even though the Dodgers seem to have adjusted to Howell’s loss--the bullpen had given up six runs in its past 37 1/3 innings before Tuesday--they have nine pitchers in their bullpen because of the expanded rosters. They would have four fewer pitchers in their bullpen during the playoffs, which could make them feel Howell’s loss even more.

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Martinez, who has been pitching poorly and privately complaining of soreness in his right biceps, underwent X-rays that revealed no major problems. But Jobe said that the muscle, which was struck with a line drive Aug. 20, needs to loosen before Martinez can pitch at full strength.

This may not happen by his scheduled start Saturday against the Braves.

The Dodgers are suddenly very lucky that they have Orel Hershiser, who was originally bumped from his scheduled start this weekend because of uncertainty about his shoulder.

Hershiser has impressed the Dodgers enough in his past two starts (two runs in 13 innings) that he would probably be Martinez’s replacement on Saturday.

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If Martinez is able to pitch, then Hershiser will probably replace Mike Morgan on Sunday. Morgan, who starts tonight against the Houston Astros, would have been pitching Sunday on three days’ rest.

Cincinnati Manager Lou Piniella spoke to National League President Bill White Tuesday concerning the seven-game suspension of pitcher Norm Charlton, who has appealed the action resulting from his intentional throw at Mike Scioscia. Piniella suggested that Charlton serve his suspension in games other than those against the Atlanta Braves, in order to be fair to the Dodgers.

Despite throwing 70 pitches between his work in the bullpen and on the mound Monday, Kevin Gross said he would be ready for his start Thursday afternoon against the Astros. “That’s like a normal day of work for me, my arm can take it,” Gross said.


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