Reporting from Chicago
One step forward, three or four steps back.
Just as the Dodgers finally got injured shortstop Rafael Furcal back in the lineup, right fielder Andre Ethier and catcher Rod Barajas were hurt in Sunday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.
And that was after infielder Juan Uribe was put on the 15-day disabled list.
In addition, the Dodgers’ heretofore strong starting pitching again failed them, with Hiroki Kuroda giving up six runs, four of them earned, in 5 2/3 innings one day after Jon Garland gave up seven runs in his losing start.
Add it all up and the Dodgers’ 8-3 loss at U.S. Cellular Field was especially dreary even by their lackluster standards so far this season.
The Dodgers lost two of three to Chicago in their interleague series and fell to six games under .500 at 21-27 as they headed to Houston to open a series against the Astros on Monday.
Ethier, one of the Dodgers’ best hitters, was injured crashing into the right-field fence in the fourth inning on a ball hit by former Dodger Juan Pierre.
Ethier, who had a 30-game hitting streak recently, suffered a bruised right elbow and lower right back and sprained his left big toe, although an X-ray showed nothing was broken.
Minutes later, Barajas sprained his right wrist making a tag at home plate on the sliding Pierre, who scored just ahead of a throw from center fielder Matt Kemp. An X-ray of Barajas’ wrist also was negative, and his availability was listed as day to day.
Ethier, Barajas and Manager Don Mattingly all said they would wait to see how the two players feel Monday before speculating about how long they might be sidelined.
As for Ethier, “we’ll see how he wakes up,” Mattingly said. “I’m sure he feels like he’s been in a car wreck.”
And although all teams deal with injuries, Mattingly acknowledged that the Dodgers seem to be getting more than their fair share lately. “It’s piling up . . . a little bit,” he said.
Furcal returned Sunday, but Uribe (strained hip muscle) joined fellow infielder Casey Blake (elbow surgery) on the disabled list. Relief pitchers Jonathan Broxton, Hong Chih-Kuo, Blake Hawksworth and Vicente Padilla also are on the DL.
Kuroda, 36, gave up three runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run by Alexei Ramirez, who ended up with four hits and five runs batted in. The home run ended Kuroda’s streak of 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
“Since the beginning [of the game] I didn’t have my slider today, so I wasn’t locating my pitches,” Kuroda said through an interpreter. “The sinker didn’t have much movement, either, so [the ball] was left over the plate.”
White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, also a former Dodger, held the Dodgers to one run in 5 2/3 innings for his fourth win of the season.
Rookie Jerry Sands again provided one positive note for the Dodgers with his first four-hit day as a major leaguer — which included his 10th double of the season — one day after he slugged his first big league home run.