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Elbow pain slows LA's Ohman in Minors

LA's Ohman suffers elbow injury

CHICAGO -- Left-handed Dodgers reliever Will Ohman, on a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque for a sore shoulder, suffered an elbow injury Tuesday night while warming up after entering the game.

Ohman was disabled May 28 with soreness of the AC joint at the top of his left shoulder, received an injection and began a rehab assignment with one appearance June 16 at Class A. He was about to make his fourth appearance for Albuquerque when he suffered the elbow injury.

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"He went back to L.A. for an MRI," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "He was warming up and he stopped himself."

Ohman, a free agent in a chilly market for relievers, was signed to a $1.35 million contract with an option for 2010 with one week left in Spring Training. At the time, the Dodgers were concerned about their left-handed bullpen depth because Hong-Chih Kuo, last year's dominant setup man, had a tender elbow and the group of non-roster invitees was lackluster.

The Kuo concerns proved valid, as he made only seven appearances with a 6.75 ERA before going on the disabled list April 30 with no sign he'll return soon, if at all.

However, Ohman wasn't the answer either, knocked around for a 5.84 ERA in 28 appearances before going on the disabled list.

Rookie Brent Leach, meanwhile, has become the unexpected situational lefty, making 22 appearances with a 3.38 ERA since being promoted May 2 from Double-A Chattanooga.

In other rehab updates, Torre said Claudio Vargas appears healed from his right elbow injury and his rehab assignment must end next week, so the club will need to make a decision on activating him. Torre said he is best suited for a swingman role along the lines of Jeff Weaver.

Right-hander Jason Schmidt had an effective start for Albuquerque earlier this week and left-hander Eric Stults has returned to California to make his first rehab start at Class A Inland Empire on Thursday for his sprained left thumb.

Outfielder Xavier Paul is still nursing a sprained right ankle.

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

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