It’ll be a few days before Brandon Phillips gets to start justifying the Reds’ $72.5 million commitment to him.
Manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday that Phillips would miss three or four days because of a sore left hamstring, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay reports.
Phillips, for his part, said he was ready to play.
“His mind is telling him he can play,” Baker said. “But his body is telling him no. That’s the attitude you want but we’ve got to look at the big picture. This is the one thing you’re always fearful of early in the year when the weather turns — somebody pulling or tweaking something.”
In a minor surprise, Willie Harris is replacing Phillips at second base and in the leadoff spot today. Harris came up primarily as a second baseman, but he started just 16 games there from 2009-11. Miguel Cairo seemed the more likely choice to start.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.