Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake was unable to shake some neck pain before… (Andrew B. Fielding / US Presswire )
Reporting from Denver
Already a two-time visitor to the disabled list, Casey Blake was held out of the starting lineup on Saturday because of neck pain.
Blake skipped batting practice.
The 37-year-old third baseman's neck had bothered him for the last couple of days, according to Manager Don Mattingly.
"Casey called it a pinched nerve," Mattingly said.
Blake did come through in a pinch-hit appearance Saturday, hitting a tiebreaking three-run double in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies.
Mattingly said Blake's pain increased considerably Friday night after he fielded a slow roller and threw to first.
Blake has been up and down since being activated from the disabled list May 22. In his 13 games since then, before Saturday, he had hit .196 with one home run and six runs batted in. He was five for 35 in his previous nine games.
Though Blake is listed as day to day and isn't scheduled for any medical examinations, Mattingly said in response to the news of his condition: "We should buy an MRI machine."
In case you were wondering, the average MRI machine costs more than $1 million. Any expenditure of $5,000 or more has to be approved by Tom Schieffer, who is monitoring the Dodgers' day-to-day operations on behalf of the commissioner's office.
Uribe also sits
Juan Uribe was also out of the lineup, but for different reasons.
He was two for 17 lifetime against Colorado Rockies starter Jason Hammel.
Uribe, who was activated from the disabled list last week, is hitless in his last three games.
"He's chased a little bit since he's come back," Mattingly said.
Before the game, Uribe spent time with coach Manny Mota in front of his locker watching videos of his at-bats on a laptop computer.
With Blake and Uribe out, the Dodgers started Jamey Carroll at second base and Aaron Miles at third.
"We're going with our Mighty Mites," Mattingly said. "They call themselves the Midget Militia, but that's probably not politically correct."
Kemp's home run
The monster pinch-hit home run that Matt Kemp hit Friday night didn't just clear the 23 rows of seats behind the left-field wall. The ball landed on the concourse behind the seats, took one bounce, went out of the ballpark and landed in the parking lot.
It was Kemp's longest home run in the major leagues, according to hittrackeronline.com. The "true" distance of the home run — basically how far the ball would have traveled had it not been obstructed by a structure above field level — was calculated at 458 feet.
Of Kemp's 19 home runs heading into Saturday, 11 had "true" distances of more than 400 feet, according to the website.
More on Matt
With Kemp on a tear and none of the hitters behind him capable of inspiring fear, will opposing teams start pitching around Kemp?
Asked that question, Rockies Manager Jim Tracy replied, "The problem is this: There's a guy in front of him who's pretty good too."
Tracy was talking about Andre Ethier, who entered Saturday batting .330 and is often on base when Kemp is at the plate.
Mattingly said opposing teams still might be willing to pitch to Kemp for the same reason they were willing to pitch to Mark McGwire when he was at his peak.
"You still feel like you get him out if you make pitches," Mattingly said. "Here's a guy who strikes out enough where you go, 'If I can get the ball here, I can get him.'"
That said, Mattingly said he's noticed teams are pitching to Kemp more carefully, particularly with men on base and first base open.
"They're not giving in to him," Mattingly said.