LOS ANGELES -- There is no upside to injury. Speaking with reporters before Saturday night's game with Colorado, Nomar Garciaparra was living proof. The team's 8-7 victory over the Rockies in Friday's 4-hour, 38-minute, 13-inning series opener came at a significant price, as Garciaparra strained his left calf trying to stop Scott Podsednik's double down the left-field line in the ninth inning. "I knew I'd pulled it when I lunged for that ground ball," Garciaparra said. "I walked a little to test it, and I knew I'd pulled it. ... When I knew I couldn't keep playing, I knew I had to take it to the [dugout]."
Manager Joe Torre said Saturday that after Friday's game, Garciaparra had "said he felt it a little bit when he was running to first base but he didn't think anything of it." Thus, the Dodgers placed Garciaparra on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Blake DeWitt from Triple-A Las Vegas, which he'd joined only Wednesday as the team decided to call up pitcher Cory Wade from Double-A Jacksonville, making him the 12th man on their staff. Add to that the sadness of Garciaparra having played only nine games after returning from a hand injury on March 7. Add also the memory and lingering weakness of the muscle, which he injured in mid-August 2007, returning from the DL on Sept. 4 after missing 19 games. DeWitt, whose one game for the 51s included five plate appearances, a base hit and three walks, said he was aware of Garciaparra's injury even before getting word he'd been called up. "I actually saw the injury on TV," DeWitt said. "A few guys said some stuff. They were laughing -- not about the [Garciaparra] situation, but my situation." DeWitt had to laugh about it, too. A little. "I've been packed for the last two days," he said. "I unzipped my suitcase to get my toothbrush and toothpaste and a different change of clothes, and that's it." Thinking back to the first three weeks of the season, during which he appeared in 12 games, hitting .255, and acquitted himself capably in the field, DeWitt said, "From the first game forward, I've felt pretty comfortable. There was nervousness on Opening Day, but now I know what it's all about. I know how to prepare." Torre recalled the confidence with which he wrote DeWitt's name on the lineup card during that period. "When we came back from China," the manager said of the final week of Spring Training, "the coaches really wanted me to see Blake DeWitt, and when we each made out our Opening Day rosters, DeWitt was on everyone's list." Now, with the ever-changing L.A. lineup showing DeWitt at third, batting eighth, Garciaparra is left to ponder his next step, literally. "It's the most frustrating and devastating thing," Garciaparra said. "It's only the second day, but it doesn't feel great. I took some steps, but I can't get into my normal gallop. ... It'll take two weeks or so to get back playing, and at least a week until I do any kind of baseball activity." He'll get treatment daily at Dodger Stadium, rather than accompanying the team on its six-game, Florida-Colorado road trip. "I'll do what I have to do," he said. "With the team going to the East Coast, the long flight wouldn't help." Asked whether, in light of having injured the same muscle less than nine months ago, he ever felt the need to protect an injured muscle before and during his return to play, Garciaparra said, "You try not to, but I think your body does that instinctively. It's like a pitcher with a sprained ankle, and he protects his shoulder. When you come back, that's how you know you can play again."
Ted Brock is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.