SAN FRANCISCO -- Veteran swingman Jeff Weaver will start Wednesday's game for the Dodgers in place of the injured Chad Billingsley, manager Joe Torre announced Tuesday. Weaver is 2-1 with a 3.47 ERA in five starts for the Dodgers this year, the most recent July 11 in a 6-3 loss at Milwaukee, when he allowed four runs (two earned) in 3 1/3 innings. Weaver last pitched three hitless innings of relief Sunday. Billingsley has a slight left hamstring strain that he said has responded well to a platelet patch injection he received Saturday. Torre said it is still hoped that Billingsley can make his next scheduled start Monday in the homestand opener against St. Louis.
"I'm always skittish when to comes to a pitcher with leg problems," Torre said. "Until he competes, you have to be concerned. But it's not a full-blown hamstring or we would have disabled him. They have this new treatment injecting platelets and it seems to help." With Weaver unavailable for long relief, the Dodgers purchased the contract of 25-year-old knuckleballer Charlie Haeger from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned back to Albuquerque left-hander Eric Stults. That means the Dodgers will skip a fifth starter in the next spin of the rotation, courtesy of Thursday's day off. Stults started Saturday and allowed three runs in five innings. "He pitched well enough to keep us in the game," said Torre. "With Bills still not available, that shortened us by an arm. Security-wise, we needed to add an arm [in the bullpen]." Haeger is 11-6 with a 3.55 ERA for the Isotopes and most recently pitched Friday night, when he was removed after four scoreless innings. Signed as a non-roster free agent, Haeger made brief Major League appearances the past three seasons with the White Sox in 2006 and 2007 and the Padres last year. Torre said he wasn't concerned about who would catch Haeger and the knuckleball, saying he believes backup Brad Ausmus has an oversized catcher's mitt. Torre, a former catcher, said he wasn't volunteering to come out of retirement. "My catching a knuckleball was so good the Braves went out and got Bob Uecker, which hastened the end of his playing career and he became a broadcaster," said Torre. "I feel responsible for making him a broadcaster."