Dodgers starter Ted Lilly began the season 5-0 with a 1.79 earned-run average… (Harry How / Getty Images )
Meanwhile, back at Langley — whoops, sorry, I meant at Dodger Stadium — the Dodgers announced that Ted Lilly was going on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation and that they had called up reliever Mike Antonini from triple-A Albuquerque.
Which is not to say Antonini will take Lilly’s scheduled start on Tuesday; he will not. Stay tuned for Tuesday’s move — shhh, still unannounced — when the Dodgers will call up right-hander Nathan Eovaldi from double-A Chattanooga to start Tuesday.
“I don’t really have one right now,” said Manager Don Mattingly about a starter for Tuesday.
Of course, he said this on Monday. You know, the day before he’ll need one.
“I don’t know if I should really be talking about tomorrow’s starter since he’s not in the building,” Mattingly said.
OK, there’s that. So Antonini is up as long-man relief in case Aaron Harang goes belly-up early Monday against the Brewers.
Then Antonini could be sent immediately back to the minors without having made his major-league debut, just as happened to him in April.
“It could be the same situation,” Antonini said.
It’s uncertain how long Lilly will be out, though the Dodgers are hopeful he’ll be able to return when eligible June 8. Lilly said he was given a cortisone injection and anti-inflammatories, but did not have an MRI.
“I’m going to throw on Thursday or Friday, and if I feel better, we’ll keep going,” Lilly said. “But it’s hard to make any projections at this point.”
Lilly, 36, said the shoulder had been bothering him since his May 18 start against St. Louis. At that point, Lilly was 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA. He said given his early success, the injury was particularly disappointing.
“For sure, you get off to a good start, you have expectations of trying to make the All-Star team,” Lilly said. “This is definitely going to make that a very difficult thing to do.
“But I don’t know what else I could have done differently to try and prevent it. I feel like I’m doing everything I can to take care of myself and prevent injuries. But part of this game is sometimes there’s not a whole lot you can do it.”
Lilly said he had the injury previously in 2009, missing a few starts with the Cubs. He went 12-9 with a 3.10 ERA that season.
“It sounds like something he’s kind of caught early,” Mattingly said. “He said, 'In the past, I would have kept going and tried to throw another game with it and really set myself backwards.’ I think the fact that Teddy felt like he caught this thing before it got any worse is hopefully a good sign for us.”
Antonini was 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in Albuquerque. Eovaldi went 1-2 with a 3.09 ERA in six starts for the Dodgers last season.
Mattingly also would not discuss Lilly's health or Eovaldi's status on Sunday. The only reason for all the hush-hush stuff is if it would handicap General Manager Ned Colletti's position to acquire another starter, whether it's free agent Roy Oswalt or via trade.