Concerned that his stiff neck could cause him to change his mechanics and thus hurt his arm, Curt Schilling conceded before Wednesday's game that he will not start tonight.
Rookie left-hander Chris Capuano will take Schilling's spot tonight. Schilling, fifth in the National League with a 2.77 ERA, said he will aim to make his next start Tuesday at Los Angeles.
Schilling has not picked up a baseball since playing catch Monday, and that, he said, “was an exercise in futility.”
He said his neck stiffened in the second inning of his start Saturday at San Francisco. He has had the same problem a few times the last two years, but this is the worst it has been.
“I had to alter my mechanics to throw, and I was concerned,” he said.
“I think I would have to change the way I physically pitch (to start today), and I think that's right now the only possible way I could hurt my arm.”
Schilling may work on improving his posture to prevent a recurrence. Sleeping wrong can also cause it to arise.
“It's something I'm going to have to pay attention to from now on,” he said.
In Capuano's last start, a Sept. 2 loss at San Diego, he allowed five runs on nine hits in 3 innings.
But he followed that up with two scoreless innings of relief last Friday at San Francisco.
He attributed the Sept. 2 problems to distractions from being called up from Class AAA Tucson.
“I'm back on a normal schedule again,” he said.
“I feel comfortable. I feel strong. I feel ready.”
Manager Bob Brenly said he chose Capuano over right-handers Edgar Gonzalez and John Patterson because of the key left-handed hitters in the Los Angeles lineup (Shawn Green, Fred McGriff and Jeromy Burnitz).
“We just feel that they're a much stronger offensive ball club against a right-handed pitcher,” Brenly said.
The Dodgers have a 24-12 record when the opposition starts a left-hander, the fourth-best mark in the NL.
With the team on pace for its worst record since the 1998 expansion season, Brenly was asked about criticism of his job as manager.
“It's not unexpected,” he said. “It's not pleasant, but it's not unexpected. It just goes along with the territory.
“I've said all along managers get too much credit when things go well (and) they take too much blame when things go wrong. Ultimately this game comes down to how the players play on the field, and unfortunately we haven't played very well this year. I understand the need for some people to point fingers and if they want to point their fingers at me, that's fine.
“I went from Manager of the Year to getting fired in a couple of months. It's pretty amazing I got that stupid that fast.”
Lefty reliever Eddie Oropesa threw in the bullpen for 4 to 5 minutes Wednesday afternoon and “looked pretty good,” pitching coach Chuck Kniffin said. Oropesa had not thrown since Aug. 26 because of a strained muscle near his elbow. Oropesa will need at least two more side sessions before he can work in a game. He will throw off a mound again today or Friday. . . .
During Wednesday's batting practice, second baseman Junior Spivey was hit below the right knee with a batted ball. Spivey was OK and stayed in the lineup. . . .
Edwin Jackson, Tuesday's starter and winner for Los Angeles, was just the second pitcher to make his major league debut by opposing Randy Johnson, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other came more than 10 years ago, when Texas’ Steve Dreyer defeated Johnson and Seattle on Aug. 8, 1993. Jackson, who turned 20 Tuesday, was the youngest pitcher to win his debut since Dwight Gooden in April 1984. . . .
A scoring change from Tuesday takes a wild pitch away from Johnson, instead charging Robby Hammock with a passed ball.