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Notes: Billingsley scratched for Sunday

Dodgers notes: Billingsley scratched

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LOS ANGELES -- Finding a replacement for the struggling Mark Hendrickson wasn't the only motivation behind the Dodgers' aggressive pursuit of David Wells prior to his Thursday night trade to San Diego.

Rookie Chad Billingsley suffered a "mild strain" to his left oblique muscle in his last start, manager Grady Little revealed Friday, and Billingsley will miss his scheduled start Sunday.

The club knew of the injury earlier in the week, but a revelation would have only weakened its negotiating position to acquire Wells, not that it mattered in the end.

Billingsley's injury means veteran Aaron Sele will start Sunday. Sele was already under consideration to replace Hendrickson, who will take his regular turn Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Although Little described Billingsley's strain as "mild," the Dodgers' history with oblique muscles this year is not a good one. Nomar Garciaparra, Brett Tomko and Jeff Kent suffered oblique or rib-cage strains, and each wound up on the disabled list.

"We're not sure how he did it, but he felt it after his last start in Arizona," Little said of Billingsley, who pitched seven innings. "It's day-to-day when he'll be able to pitch. We don't want to fool around with it. We know it's not really serious, but it's severe enough and we don't want it putting him out a month. We don't want to take any chances. There are a lot of games to play, and we'll need the guy before it's over."

Billingsley said he felt the injury while throwing a breaking ball in the third inning against Arizona.

"It felt like a cramp," he said. "It was like a knot, but it stayed the same during the game. I did it on a curveball and came through real hard. I threw some today and it felt good, but still a little tight."

Billingsley has thrown more innings this season than any of his previous three professional seasons, but he wouldn't speculate whether the injury was the result of the workload.

"It was just an accident," he said.

Anderson arrives: Marlon Anderson, acquired from Washington on Thursday night to be the primary left-handed pinch-hitter, returned to the Nationals' clubhouse after midnight to clear out his locker, slept fast, then flew to Los Angeles.

"I get to go from a last-place team to a first-place team. Everybody wants the opportunity to play in October," said the veteran infielder. "This team is good already, and maybe I can add something. Pinch-hitting is what I do."

Anderson led the Major Leagues with 35 pinch-hits in 2004-05.

Kemp, Loney, Diaz report: The Dodgers just saw James Loney last month, and they haven't seen Einar Diaz, but he's been in and out of the big leagues for a decade.

Matt Kemp, the third player promoted as roster limits expanded Friday, is the really intriguing one. They remember his arrival -- featuring seven homers in his first 14 games -- but then he became a strikeout machine and was sent back to Triple-A, where he's been on fire lately.

"I started hitting the ball the other way, working on staying back and seeing the ball longer," said Kemp. "I just got back to doing what I'm supposed to be doing, being more patient. I think at the end [of his first Dodgers stint], I was trying to do too much."

Little said he expects Kemp and Loney to get some starts.

"They're not going to be bench guys," Little said. "They'll get their share of starts from here on out. It's a luxury to have quality players like that to give guys a break."

They stay in Vegas: The Dodgers extended their contract with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s for two seasons through the 2008 season.

The 51s are completing their sixth season (2001-06) as the top farm club of the Dodgers and their 24th campaign overall in the Pacific Coast League. Las Vegas has compiled a 418-438 (.488) record over the five seasons with the Dodgers. This season, the 51s are 65-75 (.464) and are in third place in the Pacific Southern Division. The 2002 team compiled a franchise-best 85-59 (.590) record and captured the Southern Division title. The Las Vegas franchise is operated by Mandalay Baseball Properties.

Viva Los Dodgers: The Dodgers will celebrate the Ninth Annual Viva Los Dodgers festival, presented by Coca-Cola and Toyota, prior to Saturday night's game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. This year's event will be highlighted with such top Latin acts as Grammy nominated platinum recording artists, the Kumbia Kings and Montez De Durango.

The event, which drew 10,000 fans last year and resulted in a packed house at Dodger Stadium, will feature other well-known acts such as Ozomatli, Los Originales de San Juan, Rigo Luna, Ana Alicia, Sonora Karnaval and Son de Venus. Viva Los Dodgers will take place in Lot 23-25 at Dodger Stadium from 12-6 p.m. PT. Admission is free to fans holding a ticket to the Sept. 2 game, which starts at 7:10 p.m. Fans wanting to attend the festival can purchase advance tickets at www.dodgers.com and www.losdodgers.com. Tickets can also be purchased Saturday at the box office in Lot 5 at Dodger Stadium and are subject to availability.

Shoe honored: Double-A Jacksonville's John Shoemaker was named Southern League Manager of the Year after guiding the club to an 83-52 record. Spike Lundberg (14-2, 2.36) was named Most Outstanding Pitcher. Shortstop Chin-Lunh Hu and designated hitter Craig Brazell made the All-Star team.

Coming up: Brad Penny (14-7, 3.88) opposes Aaron Cook (9-12, 3.97) Saturday at 7:10 p.m. PT.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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