Staff ace Brad Penny had his between-starts bullpen session, and Torre trudged down to watch the whole thing. Penny had his most recent start delayed one day because of stiffness in his shoulder, then had to fight through body stiffness over his first 10 pitches Monday night before his body began cooperating and his velocity jumped. He nonetheless allowed five runs in six innings.
Penny said Wednesday's session went well and pronounced himself ready for his next start, Saturday against the Cardinals. The right-hander has been battling some discomfort since his May 2 start at Colorado, when he allowed three runs in five innings and got the win.
It's been rocky times for Penny since, as he's gone 0-2 in three starts while allowing 20 runs in 16 2/3 innings (10.80 ERA). He's 5-4, equaling his loss total for all of 2008. Since the Colorado start, Penny's ERA has gone from 3.19 to 5.34. He finished 2007 with an ERA of 3.03.
As for Furcal and Jones, they both maintained the hope they could return to the lineup by Friday. If they do, it will be through different paths.
Furcal, eligible to be activated from the disabled list after a lower back sprain, was tested for all baseball activities on the field during batting practice -- he hit, fielded, threw and ran. He said he felt good and expected to be ready for Friday.
Jones was equally upbeat, reporting that the swelling and discomfort in his right knee had subsided. Of course, that was expected because he hadn't done any baseball activities for two days after being diagnosed with torn cartilage. He resumed riding an exercise bike and hit off a tee, and the club was eager to see how he comes out of that.
Jones is expected to require surgery, the only question is whether he can put it off until after the season. Familiar with playing through injuries and having never been on the disabled list in 12 seasons, he believes he can.
"Knees always bother you no matter [what], and they're things you deal with and you don't pay much attention to it," said Jones. "If it doesn't get tight, I'll be ready to play Friday if Joe wants me to play."
The Dodgers also reported that disabled infielder Nomar Garciaparra underwent tests to determine if his repeated calf strains are the result of "compartment syndrome," a condition where pressure from swelling builds within muscles and can affect nerves and blood vessels.
Trainer Stan Conte said Garciaparra will see a vascular specialist to determine if that's the reason his healing has stalled. Among the possible treatments for the condition are surgical incisions to relieve the pressure.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less