PITTSBURGH -- Casey Blake had the rare opportunity to know exactly when his last game of the season would be due to injury.
Blake, the Dodgers' third baseman when healthy, has been bothered by a pinched nerve in his neck all season. The pain didn't completely go away through three disabled-list stints, but Blake kept on playing.
Until now. The veteran did not make the trip with the team to Pittsburgh for the makeup game Thursday, and he will undergo surgery next week, ending his season.
"The whole idea is that this will give him the best chance to give it a run (at Spring Training next year)," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He told me [Wednesday] -- we all knew it was his last day -- that he felt like a dog that was going to the vet. You put him in a car and he's kind of like, 'Hey I'm going to the vet. I'm in the car.' And then you get to the vet and you get sleepy, get tired. So I thought that was a good analogy."
Mattingly said it was important to Blake for him to make it to Sept. 1 so that he wouldn't be harming the team as much, what with the expansion of the active rosters.
Mattingly described the procedure as "giving the nerve some space" and that Blake, 38, wishes to continue playing.
"Hopefully this gives him the best chance to do that," Mattingly said. "I don't know the exact time before he really get back to baseball [workouts/activities], but it gives him that extra month of time to kind of get into the winter and have this process already started."