Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly missed nearly a month with neck and shoulder soreness… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
It’s the Ted Lilly dilemma.
One day his neck is feeling fine, then it stiffens up and he can hardly turn his head, let alone pitch.
He missed almost a month with neck and shoulder soreness earlier and now is headed back. Lilly is scheduled to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday as the Dodgers call Matt Magill back up from triple-A Albuquerque for the third time to start in his place.
“It’s frustrating, and for all of us,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “I think Teddy’s frustrated. Like him and I talked about [Friday], the biggest issue with him is we just don’t when this thing is going to pop up. … It feels like fairly regular we have something going on. It’s like I told him, it’s not his fault. His body is not going right.
Lilly is 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in five starts. He made two good starts against the Cardinals and Angels but then struggled in his last start against the Padres (four innings, five runs, six hits) when the neck stiffened.
The reoccurring injury is pushing the Dodgers to take another approach with Lilly.
“We’re trying to move into a little different direction with Ted as far as training,” Mattingly said. “Trying to get him off the field into like no bouncing, jumping, running type situations, to take some of the variables out of this equation. What’s causing this? Maybe there’s nothing that we can do to keep it from happening, but I feel like we have to do something different.”
Lilly could have had the neck aggravated in his last start when he was knocked over by the Padres' 6-foot-6, 265-pound outfielder Kyle Banks as he tried to back up third base.
There is one thing the Dodgers can’t do anything about: Lilly is 37 years old.
Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez missed his third consecutive start with a left hamstring (corrected) soreness, though the shortstop felt healthy enough to go.
“I think they’re just being careful,” Ramirez said. “I think I could play every day.”
The Dodgers have been riddled with hamstring issues the last couple of years, and Mattingly said they were being precautionary.
“I feel like it is,” Mattingly said. “I feel like you can’t hardly be stiff one day and then throw him out the next day. Trying to being cautious with him. I don’t want to throw him back on that" DL list.
Ramirez came off the disabled list with a hamstring injury Tuesday, but started only two games before the Dodgers started playing it safe.