In his first rehab start since being placed on the disabled list for a left calf muscle strain, Chris Capuano looked sharp in a 5.1 inning outing for the Los Angeles Dodgers' AAA affiliate Albuquerque Isotopes, culminating in a 6-4 win over the Memphis Redbirds. Surrendering two runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking one batter, Capuano said he was 'good to go', throwing 70 percent of his 76 pitches for strikes, while doing a good job of mixing in all of his pitches during the outing.
The outing wasn't without its tense moments however, as Capuano leaped off of the mound to grab a nubber off of the bat of Redbirds' Kolten Wong in the first inning and later attempted to grab a comebacker barehanded off of the bat of Chad Huffman. Capuano felt no ill effects from either play, and felt that the quickness in which he fielded his position in both plays confirmed his strained calf has completed healed.
Suffering the injury in his first start of 2013 as a rotation replacement for Zack Greinke, who has been out since suffering a fractured collarbone during a brawl with the San Diego Padres on April 11th, Capuano is 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA (41 ERA+) in 4.3 innings pitched over three appearances. While his 7.7 K/9 rate is on par with his career average of 7.5, Capuano's limited innings this season have been plagued by walks; his current BB/9 of 5.8 is double his career rate of 2.9, and is a career worst.
In spite of his rough start out of the gates this season, Capuano's recovery and return to the ball club comes at a crucial time for the Dodgers, who are experiencing more than their share of injuries to their starting rotation. At the heels of Capuano and Greinke injuries comes word that Ted Lilly's atrocious start (4 ER in 3 IP) on April 29th against the Colorado Rockies was due to unreported back soreness, prompting a cortisone injection. With Capuano tentatively slated for either a Monday or Tuesday return in LA against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have a fighting chance to piece together a respectable starting rotation as they await the return of Greinke and staff ace Clayton Kershaw from bereavement leave and claw their way back into NL West contention.
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