Blake lobbying for early return from DL

Blake lobbying for early return from DL

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake not only made progress the past week recovering from a bad back, he's now making progress talking the club into activating him for Thursday's game in Colorado.

That would be the first date he's eligible to come off the disabled list. Manager Don Mattingly originally said he hoped to bring back Blake for the weekend series in San Diego, but Blake said he feels "good enough to compete" and Mattingly said he's thinking about it.

"It sounds like he's ready," said Mattingly. "He feels there's nothing more to do. We'll see. We're thinking about it. The only thing I'm uncomfortable with is three days without playing. Off-days in the middle of the season, guys come back fine. Off early in the season, sometimes you don't."

Blake had been getting eight or nine at-bats in Minor League games at the club's Camelback Ranch in Arizona, but the Minor League teams broke camp Saturday and begin their seasons Thursday. So there are no more games in which Blake can play to fine-tune his batting stroke, now that he believes his back is completely healed.

"It was tough on me watching games on TV; it's a difficult perception for me," Blake said. "It lit the fire more to get back here with my teammates and compete with them.

"I plan to go to Colorado and if I stay with the team, I'd like to play as soon as I could. I don't make that call. They don't want me to sit around and not face live pitching."