Proctor admits he's hurting, heads to DL
Reliever had insisted through multiple poor outings all was well
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers announced on Wednesday that reliever Scott Proctor had been optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Then they announced he had been placed on the disabled list with a sore elbow.
While the club was confused over where Proctor would go, it was clear he won't be pitching out of the Dodgers bullpen for a while. He has a 6.82 ERA after being scored upon in four of the last five appearances and, as of the last update, has a sore elbow.
Brian Falkenborg was purchased from Las Vegas to take Proctor's spot in the bullpen and backup catcher Gary Bennett was moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot for Falkenborg. Players on the 60-day DL don't count against the 40-man roster.
Proctor said he he's been pitching hurt "for a month, a month and a half," in part because he didn't want to put a burden on a short-handed bullpen. But the result on Saturday was that he let a game get away while pitching hurt. Proctor allowed all five Cleveland batters he faced to reach base with four scoring in a game the Dodgers eventually lost in extra innings, 6-4.
"As a reliever you try to take the ball as much as you can, even when you don't feel right because you feel if you need a day off you're stressing somebody else out," he said. "It's not what you like to do -- you try to be there with your teammates. Like in my situation, I hadn't really been throwing the ball well, but if you can keep a guy out of there in a blowout situation it's going to help us in the long run. Bottom line, you never want to be out there hurting the team.
"I'd have much rather gone down and kept it quiet. I don't like the way this looks [in terms of] just using this as an excuse. I don't like excuses. I've never liked them, everybody has them, and they never look right. The bottom line is, I have to think of my family, I have to get healthy."
Manager Joe Torre said Proctor's command was an indication that something was wrong, but the pitcher admitted he was injured only after being told he would be optioned. Proctor is paid the same $1,115,000 salary regardless.
"I know the timing sounds like it was to keep from going to the Minor Leagues," said Torre, who managed Proctor with the Yankees. "This happened in New York. He would never acknowledge anything's wrong. He always says he's all right. You love him for his heart and bellyful of guts, but he doesn't always make the right decision."
After Saturday's beating, Proctor was asked if anything was wrong physically. Annoyed, he said he wouldn't talk about that.
"I'm not talking about that. There is nothing, and I'm tired of people making excuses and saying I'm hurt," he said. "My job is to make pitches and get outs, and I'm pathetic. It's embarrassing to know this team battled like that all day and I pitched like that. It's stupid."
This is Falkenborg's second stint with the Dodgers, having appeared in six games in 2004. He has appeared in the Major Leagues with four organizations, the last two seasons with St. Louis. He was 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA, 13 saves, 41 strikeouts and eight walks in 35 innings for Las Vegas. Torre said he impressed the staff during Spring Training, when he had a 3.12 ERA in nine games.
Bennett has been on the disabled list since May 19 with plantar fasciitis, a painful foot condition that required a cortisone injection last week, as well as a mental block returning throws to the pitcher.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.