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Strained Muscle Could Make Perez Miss Start

Times Staff Writer

Odalis Perez, who said he hurt himself playing catch before getting roughed up by the Atlanta Braves in Wednesday night’s start, was diagnosed Thursday by trainer Stan Johnston with a “very mild strain of his right oblique,” an abdominal muscle, said Manager Jim Tracy.

“It’s not something [Johnston] feels would inhibit him from pitching on Monday, but we’ll see. As of right now, he’s still pitching.”

Perez, scheduled to start the finale of the four-game series against Florida’s Dontrelle Willis, wasn’t so sure.

“Today it didn’t feel too good,” said Perez, who lasted a season-low four-plus innings while giving up a season-high 11 hits against the Braves. “For the nine innings I just stayed [in the clubhouse] and got treatment.

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“We’ll see about Monday. I hope so.”

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Right-handed rookie Jonathan Broxton was born in Augusta, Ga., and lives in nearby Waynesboro. So you have to forgive the hard-throwing youngster, who didn’t turn 21 until June 16, for thinking of Don Sutton more as a Brave broadcaster than as a Hall of Fame pitcher who played 16 years with the Dodgers.

Sutton, making his way through the Dodger clubhouse Thursday, complimented Broxton on his showing the night before, when he hit 97 mph and struck out the side but gave up one run on three walks and one hit.

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“He just basically said I had good stuff and to hit my spots,” Broxton said. “I take it if I hit my spots, then I can help my team.”

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Outfielder Ricky Ledee received a cortisone shot in his bothersome left hamstring and was unavailable. Ledee said the frustration over the injury was mounting.

“We’ve got a chance to do something good here,” he said of the Dodgers. “I don’t want to miss any games. Hopefully over time it will go away forever, or at least until the end of the season. Then I’ll deal with it.”

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Jason Repko, who sprained his left middle finger and thumb sliding headfirst into home plate on Tuesday, has healed sufficiently that he was available to play but was not used.

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With no off-day between series, the Dodgers are using No. 5 starter D.J. Houlton tonight at Florida, meaning Brad Penny will have an extra day of rest when he takes the mound Saturday. Penny pitched a complete-game win over the Mets on Sunday.

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