Kent, Garciaparra may head to DL

Kent, Garciaparra may head to DL

PHOENIX -- Injured second baseman Jeff Kent had a good day on Monday, testing his strained right hamstring by sprinting in the outfield and around the skin of the infield, but that doesn't mean he'll be on the Opening Day roster.

Manager Joe Torre gave indications that the club is leaning toward putting Kent on the 15-day disabled list, as well as Nomar Garciaparra, pointing out that with the move being retroactive, they would miss only five days.

"We'll sit and talk on Thursday and make a decision on both he and Nomar [broken hand]," Torre said, "either the disabled list, or if it's reasonable for them to be ready.

"I'm more optimistic [about Kent], which is one thing I can't say about Nomar right now. With Jeff, it comes down to he could be ready, but is he totally comfortable to do everything? I don't think either one will take a great deal of at-bats to get ready. With the DL, they would be back six days into the season. It's crazy not to take advantage of that."

Garciaparra still can't swing a bat.

There also was somewhat disturbing news regarding 38-year-old closer Takashi Saito, who was scratched from the trip to Surprise, Ariz., for Monday night's game when he arrived at the club's borrowed Oakland A's training facility with tightness around his left hip and buttocks.

Saito was able to play long toss and told club officials he could have pitched if this was the regular season. He might pitch in Tuesday's getaway game against Milwaukee. Nonetheless, he's already two weeks behind after nursing a strained calf muscle. He's appeared in only four exhibition games, allowed a home run in his most recent appearance and has an ERA of 9.00.

Torre said a roster meeting among club officials resulted in no moves. Instead of making cuts in Arizona, the entire squad of 40 (Yhency Brazoban is in extended Spring Training in Florida) will make the trip to Los Angeles for games against the Angels and Red Sox. In addition to possibly Kent and Garciaparra, the Dodgers will put Jason Schmidt and Andy LaRoche on the DL. Schmidt is still months away in his recovery from shoulder surgery. LaRoche will be out until mid-May after thumb ligament surgery.

For Monday night's game, outfielder Jason Repko talked his way onto the squad that made the trip after missing a week with sore quad muscles. But 20-year-old pitcher Clayton Kershaw was scratched because there weren't enough innings to go around. He threw a light bullpen session in Phoenix and might pitch on Tuesday after a scheduled short start by Opening Day starter Brad Penny.

Kershaw's scratch underscores the negative impact of the Dodgers' vagabond Spring Training. Being separated from their Minor League complex by 2,000 miles, they have no Minor League games available for pitchers to pick up innings late in Spring Training, when starters stretch out to six or seven innings a game. It has forced the Dodgers to use simulated games, which are essentially batting practice against teammates.

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