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Park gives the Tigers full credit

Times Staff Writer

DETROIT -- Chan Ho Park denied that the shoulder problems that rendered him unavailable in the previous two days had anything to do with him giving up five runs and eight hits over 1 1/3 innings of relief Sunday in the Dodgers’ 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

“I made good pitches. They just hit them,” Park said.

Park entered the game in the fifth inning and retired the first two batters he faced but let the next six batters reach base. The Tigers scored three runs in the inning, the last by Placido Polanco, who scored on an infield single by Miguel Cabrera. Park started the sixth inning by serving up consecutive home runs to Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge that put the Dodgers down, 5-0. Thames hit a home run in every game of the series.

The outing was the worst of the season for Park, who began the game with a 1.96 earned-run average in 19 games. Manager Joe Torre said Park remained a candidate to take Brad Penny’s place on the rotation Friday at Dodger Stadium if Penny can’t pitch that day. Penny is set to be examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache today in Los Angeles to determine the source of his shoulder pain.

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Best so far

Clayton Kershaw pitched four scoreless innings in his start Sunday, but his outing was cut short by a 47-minute rain delay between the fourth and fifth innings.

“It was his best performance, rain delay or no rain delay,” Torre said of Kershaw, who began the game with a 4.50 ERA.

Torre said he didn’t consider letting Kershaw continue to pitch when the game resumed because of fears of what could happen to his prized left arm.

Kershaw, who gave up two hits and two walks, credited his improvement on working with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to stay more upright on his delivery.

“Today, I got a better downward angle on the ball,” Kershaw said, noting that the adjustment helped him keep his fastball low.

Kershaw will make his next start Saturday at Dodger Stadium against Cleveland.

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Penny’s possible replacements

Torre has started making contingency plans in case the examination of Penny’s shoulder today rules him out to make his next scheduled start Friday.

“We’re certainly not counting on the fact that he will be because he’s uncomfortable, evidently,” Torre said.

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Torre said that he doesn’t want to disrupt the rhythm of middle relievers Park and Hong-Chih Kuo, and that if Penny lands on the disabled list, his next turn in the rotation would probably be taken by someone in the Dodgers’ minor league system.

If Penny avoids the disabled list and is unable to pitch Friday, Torre said that Park would probably take Penny’s place, contradicting his recent statement that he would lean toward starting Kuo instead of Park if there were an opening in the rotation.

The most probable minor league candidate appears to be left-hander Eric Stults, who pitched six scoreless innings Saturday for triple-A Las Vegas. Torre mentioned Stults’ Las Vegas teammate, Jason Johnson, and James McDonald of double-A Jacksonville as other candidates.

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Short hops

Shortstop Chin-lung Hu, who was optioned to Las Vegas on June 9, was put on the minor league disabled list after complaining of blurry vision in his right eye. Hu traveled from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas on Sunday to be examined.

Hu said he suffered from poor vision in that eye in 2006, when he batted .254 at Jacksonville. The problem went away the next season and Hu hit .329 between two minor league stops.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com


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