Saito optimistic about return

Times Staff Writer

A week of light tossing behind him, Takashi Saito said he is more optimistic about being able to pitch again this season for the Dodgers than when he was put on the disabled list July 18 because of a sprained ligament in his right elbow.

“There’s no pain so I’m feeling better about my chances,” Saito said. “But the reality is that I hurt my elbow.”

Saito, who could still be forced to undergo season-ending surgery, will continue his current regimen of tossing for two days and resting for one over the next two weeks while gradually increasing the intensity.

After two weeks, he will be examined by Dr. Neal El Attrache, who will determine whether he can pitch off a mound.


“I don’t want to come back too late, but I also don’t want to hold back when I can go,” Saito said. “It’s tough to balance.”

Saito said he’s doing everything but throwing hard.

“I’m working out like crazy so I’ll be in shape to return to the mound at any time,” he said.

Moving on up


The Dodgers’ 4-3 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday was the 2,127th victory of Joe Torre’s managerial career, moving him into seventh all-time. Torre moved past Joe McCarthy, who managed the New York Yankees to seven championships in 16 seasons.

“That gets your attention,” Torre said. “I don’t get in the habit of looking back and admiring what took place because I’d like to think I’ll do this for a little bit longer. . . . But it’s pretty cool.”

More Manny

The Manny Ramirez-style dreadlock wigs that went on sale in team stores for $25 on Wednesday were a big hit in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.


Tom Catlin, vice president of creative services, brought a couple of the wigs into the clubhouse that were worn by several players, among them Hiroki Kuroda, Angel Berroa and Delwyn Young.

Reliever claimed by Padres

Right-hander Brian Falkenborg was lost to the San Diego Padres, who claimed him off waivers. Falkenborg, 30, who was in his second stint with the Dodgers, was designated for assignment last week to make room on the active roster for Brad Penny.

Falkenborg started the season as the closer for triple-A Las Vegas. He was called up June 25 and posted a 2-2 record and 6.17 earned-run average in 16 big league games.


Surgery for Bennett?

Backup catcher Gary Bennett, on the disabled list since May 20, said he hasn’t run in two weeks and that he will undergo an MRI exam today on his injured left foot.

Bennett, who has been diagnosed with a condition called plantar fasciitis, said he has been told by doctors that he might be forced to undergo surgery.

Bennett has a $900,000 mutual option for next season.


Short hops

The major league schedule for the 2009 season, which is subject to change, has the Dodgers opening the regular season with a four-game series against the Padres at Petco Park. . . . Shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is rehabilitating his surgically repaired back in Arizona, was scheduled to fly into Los Angeles on Wednesday night to be with his wife, who is expected to give birth to the couple’s second child today. . . . Jason Schmidt threw off a mound Sunday and Tuesday, and is scheduled to do so again Friday. Schmidt said he hasn’t given up hope of pitching in the majors this season. . . . Scott Proctor threw on flat ground.