Saito to have exam on right elbow today

Times Staff Writers

Takashi Saito said Sunday he continued to feel the discomfort in his right elbow that forced him out of the game Saturday, and Dodgers Manager Joe Torre acknowledged he was assuming that the 38-year old closer would spend time on the disabled list.

“It hasn’t really changed since yesterday,” said Saito, who is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today.

The discomfort is such that Saito said he had to hold his toothbrush with his left hand on Sunday morning when brushing his teeth.

Jonathan Broxton would be the Dodgers’ closer in Saito’s absence, Torre said.

If Saito lands on the DL, Torre added, matchups would dictate who pitches in the eighth innings of games the Dodgers are leading. Torre said long reliever Hong-Chih Kuo had the right mental makeup for the job but was uncertain whether the injury-prone left-hander could handle the increased workload. Situational left-hander Joe Beimel was also mentioned as a possibility to set up.



DeJesus showcased

Ivan DeJesus Jr., the Dodgers’ representative in Sunday’s Futures Game in New York, was two for three with a walk as the leadoff batter for the World team.

DeJesus said that, under orders from the Dodgers’ front office, he has been playing two of every three games at second base in recent weeks for double-A Jacksonville, Fla. He said he has heard “some rumors” from the coaching staff as to why the Dodgers no longer want him playing exclusively at shortstop, but he would not say whether those rumors included the possibility of the Dodgers’ promoting him to the major leagues as a utility infielder, promoting him to triple-A Las Vegas as a second baseman or showcasing him for a trade.

With Rafael Furcal injured, the Dodgers have tried Chin-lung Hu, Luis Maza, Angel Berroa and Nomar Garciaparra at shortstop, and General Manager Ned Colletti says he is trying to trade for a starting shortstop. DeJesus, batting .307 with a .412 on-base percentage, said he believes he would be ready for the major leagues should the Dodgers call.

“I can’t say 100%, but in my mind, I’m ready,” he said. “I’m confident in myself.”


He beats Marlins -- again

By striking out a career-high 13 batters and giving up one run in seven innings, Chad Billingsley improved to 4-0 lifetime against the Marlins with a 1.64 earned-run average.

Billingsley didn’t walk anyone for the first time this season, which is what he said pleased him the most about his start.


Short hops

The Dodgers were in danger of heading into the All-Star break without anyone at the 50 runs-batted-in mark, but Matt Kemp and James Loney drove in two runs each to raise their season totals to 51 and 50, respectively. . . . Don Mattingly remains on schedule to join the Dodgers as their hitting coach when they open the second half of their season in Arizona on Friday. Former Seattle Mariners hitting coach Jeff Pentland, who was hired by the Dodgers as an organizational hitting instructor, could be summoned to the big leagues at some point to aid Mattingly. . . . Jason Schmidt threw 63 pitches over 2 1/3 rough innings in the latest start of his minor league rehabilitation assignment with triple-A Las Vegas. Schmidt gave up five hits and five runs (four earned). He walked three and struck out two. . . . With Jeff Kent taking the day off, Garciaparra moved into the cleanup spot and Kemp went back in the leadoff position where Garciaparra hit Saturday.