Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — Mark Ellis, off to a very good start to his season, hobbles off with a leg injury. I know, right? After all, Ellis missing time with leg trouble isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence, since it’s only happened in 2012 (46 days)… and 2011 (15 days)… and 2010 (39 days)… and 2009 (60 days)… and 2008 (11 days)… and 2007 (3 days). We jest, but seriously — the odds of him making it through his age-36 season without hurting his lower half were only slightly better than the odds of Chad Billingsley‘s elbow not blowing up.
All that being said, it’s a huge blow to a Dodger roster that absolutely did not need further injury concerns at the moment. Ellis had scored the first run of the night and was hitting .342/.363/.452 after he strained his right quad attempting to run out a grounder in the fifth, and while that stat line was never, ever going to be sustainable, he’d been a bright spot on both sides of the ball over the first month of the season. It’s a big loss.
Unfortunately, this is the kind of injury that almost always results in a disabled list stint. While we of course don’t know the severity of Ellis’ strain, Ruben Tejada missed 48 days last year when he did the same thing, while Mike Napoli was out for 35. In 2008, Alex Rodriguez strained a quad, and he missed 23 days. No word yet on how long Ellis will be out… but don’t hold your breath. This is almost certainly measured in weeks, not days.
That makes the infield more of a mess than it already was, though at least Hanley Ramirez is expected to begin his rehab stint this weekend and could be back as soon as early next week. With Ellis out, some combination of Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston, & Skip Schumaker will probably cover the keystone, and while that sounds pretty terrible, at least it might keep Hairston off of third base, where last year’s defensive issues have clearly not left him.
As for who might take Ellis’ roster spot, it remains to be seen. I imagine Elian Herrera is the most likely candidate for his versatility, yet I would not at all be against the idea of adding Alex Castellanos as a righty bench bat, especially since it seems Hairston won’t be available for outfield duty all that often.
That’s all to be sorted out, however. For now, this is just bad news on a club that really could do without more of that.
All of this overshadowed what was a pretty eventful victory otherwise, especially for the Boston foursome who came over in the Punto trade last year. Josh Beckett was his usual homer-prone self, allowing two dingers and three earned runs over 5.1 innings, but Carl Crawford hit his second homer, drove in two, and scored twice, while Adrian Gonzalez drove in three on two doubles. The second one drove home Punto with the eventual winning run. I know we all miss Rubby De La Rosa & Allen Webster, but… so far, so good.
Beyond that quartet, Justin Sellers came up with two more hits — .224/.308/.293 isn’t that bad from him, all things considered — and Luis Cruz even got in on the fun with a hit of his own in the eighth. That all pales in comparison to the fact that Juan Uribe collected yet another walk, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t note that the much-maligned Ronald Belisario picked up strikeouts for three of the five outs he managed, even around Hairston’s fielding woes. Brandon League, pitching for the third day in a row, managed to get through the ninth with the usual amount of heartburn, though at least that was largely due to his own throwing error. If I never, ever have to live to see him again facing Ryan Braun with the tying run on in a two-run game, I will be completely okay with that.