Juan Pierre didn’t travel with the Dodgers to Houston on Sunday, remaining in Los Angeles to undergo an MRI exam today to determine the extent of damage to the left knee that he hurt in the sixth inning of a 1-0 loss to the Angels.
A decision of whether to put Pierre on the ever-growing disabled list will remain on hold until team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache diagnoses the injury, but Manager Joe Torre said, “Obviously, for him to come out of a ballgame, it’s more than just a bruise, you would think.”
Pierre, who has never been on the disabled list in nine major-league seasons, declined to comment through a team spokesperson.
The Dodgers’ leadoff hitter was injured on a head-first dive into second base for his 35th steal of the season, as shortstop Erick Aybar fell on his left leg while trying to retrieve a ball thrown to him by catcher Mike Napoli that caromed a few feet away. Pierre was able to limp off the field without any help.
Torre said Pierre tried to talk him into leaving him in the contest.
Delwyn Young probably will replace Pierre in the lineup today when the Dodgers open a four-game series in Houston, with utility infielder Luis Maza serving as the emergency fourth outfielder. Torre said that if Pierre has to be moved to the disabled list, he probably would be replaced on the active roster by Jason Repko of triple-A Las Vegas.
Sunday morning, Torre called Pierre his everyday left fielder, saying he would continue to be a constant in the lineup even when Andruw Jones made his expected return for the start of the second half of the season. At the time, Torre said that Jones would start in center field and that Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp would split time in right.
Torre said that he encouraged Jones to undergo surgery on his knee last month largely because he thought the center fielder would benefit psychologically from the time off.
Jones, who signed a two-year, $36-million contract last winter, was hitting .165 when he was hurt.
“I asked him what his plan was,” Torre said. “He said he planned to have it operated on after the season was over. I said, ‘If you’re going to get it operated on anyway and the only reason you’re not doing it is because you don’t want to leave the team at this point in time, it may be a good time to just move aside and try to get everything straightened out in your mind and physically.”
Reshuffling the rotation
If Brad Penny emerges from a shortened simulated game Tuesday without any problems, he will be activated from the disabled list Saturday to make a start in San Francisco.
Penny would take the place of Chan Ho Park in the six-man rotation that the Dodgers will use up to the All-Star break. Park, who lowered his earned-run average to 2.52 in a win over the Angels on Friday, will be available for long relief duty Tuesday and Wednesday in Houston.
Hiroki Kuroda didn’t experience any unexpected discomfort after his three innings of simulation Saturday and will start Wednesday in Houston as scheduled. . . . Jeff Pentland, who was fired as the hitting coach in Seattle, was hired as a hitting instructor for triple-A Las Vegas.