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Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu to miss start because of mild back strain

Ryu, who won't make his scheduled start Friday in Cincinnati, says his back is not hurting. 'It's just tight,' he says.

September 04, 2013

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DENVER — Hyun-Jin Ryu has been scratched from his scheduled start Friday in Cincinnati because of mild back strain. Ryu will be replaced by Chris Capuano in the opening game of the Dodgers' three-game series against the Reds.

Ryu downplayed the injury, saying, "It doesn't really hurt. It's just tight."

Dodgers officials also didn't sound alarmed.

Manager Don Mattingly said he was looking for Ryu to start early next week. The rookie left-hander is a candidate to start Tuesday or Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.

"I'll be completely fine by then," Ryu said.

Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw will start on Saturday and Sunday in Cincinnati, respectively. Ricky Nolasco will take the mound on Monday in the opening game of the series against the Diamondbacks.

Ryu said his back started bothering him the morning after his last start, which was on Friday. Ryu didn't think the tightness was related to an awkward slide he made at the plate to score a run in the Dodgers' 9-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Ryu played catch at Coors Field on Tuesday and continued to experience stiffness. With the Dodgers holding a sizable lead in the National League West, Ryu said Mattingly told him they wouldn't take any chances with him.

Ryu said he will attempt to throw off a mound in the coming days.

Gonzalez wants home-field advantage

Mattingly hasn't said how much he plans to use his regular players over the final month of the season.

Adrian Gonzalez's preference is that the Dodgers make a push to finish with the best record in the NL, which would give them home-field advantage through the league championship series.

"It would be great if our fans can be behind us that extra game in the first two series," Gonzalez said. "I definitely want to give our fans that. We're not just going to settle for the division."

As for how much he plays in the weeks leading up to the postseason, Gonzalez said he would leave that up to Mattingly.

"Even in spring training, I don't believe in planning it out," Gonzalez said. "I've had spring trainings in the past where I said, 'If I play in this many games and get this many at-bats, I'm going to be ready.' Then the season starts and I'm all over the place. It never pans out the way you wanted. I told Donnie he could take care of it."

Gonzalez was out of the lineup Wednesday. That marked only the 10th time this season that Gonzalez didn't start.

Puig sits again

Yasiel Puig was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day because of a strained muscle behind his right knee.

Puig took batting practice and struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning.

"He feels better today," Mattingly said. "I just want to be cautious."

But Mattingly didn't sound certain Puig would be back in the lineup for the Dodgers' next game, on Friday.

"If he's hurting Friday, then he won't play Friday," Mattingly said.

Short hops

Greinke was named the NL's pitcher of the month for August. He was 5-0 with a 1.23 earned-run average in five starts. … Matt Kemp had 13 at-bats in a simulated game at the Dodgers' spring-training complex in Arizona.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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