Of course, shoulder injuries are nothing new to Alvarez, who missed the entire 2000 and 2001 seasons with Tampa Bay with a series of shoulder problems that required surgery. He made it back to pitch two effective seasons with the Dodgers, earning a two-year, $4 million contract signed last December.
Alvarez attempted to pitch through the discomfort in two starts late last month with disastrous results, and conceded last week that the injury had resurfaced. He will undergo an MRI Tuesday. He was disabled retroactively to May 31.
To replace Alvarez, the Dodgers promoted 23-year-old Franquelis Osoria from Triple-A Las Vegas. Osoria, a hard-throwing right-hander from the Dominican Republic, was 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 27 games with Las Vegas. During Spring Training, he pitched in four games and allowed one earned run in five innings over four appearances.
Osoria's arrival leaves manager Jim Tracy with an incredible total of eight rookies on the current 25-man active roster. They are pitchers Yhency Brazoban, D.J. Houlton, Osoria and Derek Thompson; catcher Mike Rose; infielders Mike Edwards and Oscar Robles, and outfielder Jason Repko.
Penny talks progressing: Brad Penny, whose career was uncertain only a few months ago because of a rare arm injury, is close to an agreement with the Dodgers on a contract extension.
Penny, who hasn't missed a start since returning to the rotation from the DL on April 24, would receive a deal for three years plus a fourth-year option. Any agreement would be contingent on Penny passing a physical exam.
Penny is 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA in nine starts. He was acquired last July 31 from Florida with Hee-Seop Choi and Minor League pitcher Bill Murphy for Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota and Juan Encarnacion.
Injury update: Disabled pitcher Elmer Dessens starts Tuesday for Las Vegas on his injury rehabilitation assignment, with 45 pitches the target. Tracy said Dessens likely will need another outing at least before he has built enough arm strength to return.
Disabled pitcher Odalis Perez played catch, and said his shoulder felt better than it had in a long time.
"I threw on the side yesterday and today I thought it would be stiff and sore, but no," said Perez. "I had good velocity and it wasn't stiff or sore. No pain. It feels good. I'll throw on the side Wednesday."
Disabled catcher Paul Bako's attempt to run was canceled because of swelling in his injured left knee.
Disabled outfielder Milton Bradley continued therapy on his injured hand.
Ricky Ledee was out of the lineup again because of inflammation behind his left knee and will undergo an MRI Tuesday. Ledee said the condition occurs occasionally as the result of a serious injury he suffered in 2001 when he tore tendons attaching the hamstring to the back of the knee, but he was confident it will respond to treatment as it has in the past.
Draft day: The Dodgers lost their first-round pick in Tuesday's First-Year Player Draft to Boston for signing Derek Lowe, and won't draft until the 40th overall pick (compensation for losing Adrian Beltre to Seattle), the first time they won't have a first-round pick since 1999, when they took Repko with the 37th overall pick.
Repko turned out pretty well, as he is one of only two players on the current Dodgers roster drafted by the club. Eric Gagne is the other.
"I signed in a couple days and went to mini-camp and then rookie ball, and I look back at graduation pictures of my friends, I didn't even go through the graduation ceremony, but it was the best decision I ever made," said Repko.
Minor League update: Vero Beach third baseman Andy LaRoche, who slugged 14 home runs in May, was selected as the Topps Florida State League Player of the Month. Over a five-game stretch from May 20-24, he belted seven home runs. Overall in May, LaRoche batted .357 (40-for-112) with 25 RBIs, seven doubles and 30 runs scored in 28 games. He had three multihomer contests during the month.
Venezuelan left-hander Carlos Alvarez continued his masterful pitching out of the bullpen for Columbus with four more scoreless innings this past week, lowering his ERA to 0.31. In 16 appearances this season, Alvarez has permitted just one earned run in 29.0 innings, allowing 17 hits and 10 walks while striking out 45 batters.
Coming up: Thompson will make his third Major League start Tuesday night against the Tigers. Thompson has shown an ability rare for a Dodgers pitcher; he's been able to keep the ball in the park in both of his previous starts.