Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 5/20/12
LOS ANGELES A solar eclipse took place in Los Angeles Sunday evening, but If you looked at the Dodgers disabled list rather than the team's 25-man roster, you'd come away certain that things had already gotten about as dark as can be. And when second baseman Mark Ellis joined the dreaded "List of Eight"four starters included--the light at the end of the tunnel seemed a long way away. However, the reality is that despite the absurd number of injuries the team has had to deal withseemingly on a weekly basisthe Dodgers have baseball's best record at 28 -13. And even missing Ellis, a free agent signee who's been a major factor in the Dodgers' success this season, they're confident that just like the injuries to position players Matt Kemp, Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe, and pitchers Matt Guerrier, Blake Hawksworth and Rubby De La Rosa, the team would fill in with capable reserves, weather the storm, and try to remain MLB's best. But the injury to Ellis was much more serious than first thought, and the diagnosis sent a shiver throughout the organization. Less than 24 hours after being tossed into the air on a hard slide by St. Louis second baseman Tyler Greene, Ellis heard the words "emergency surgery" and was operated on Saturday afternoon, the procedure going well and hopes were that he would be back in the lineup in as soon as six weeks. Prior to Sunday's game at Dodger Stadium with the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, though, Manager Don Mattingly gave a chilling account of how close Ellis came to having his left leg amputated. "(Dr. Neal ElAttrache) said that if the thing had gone another six or seven hours, he could have lost the leg, said a shaken Mattingly. "I didn't realize how bad (it) was. That's serious. That's scary." After being taken out by Greene, Ellis actually stayed in the game and hit in the bottom of the seventh. Following some treatment, he was reexamined Saturday by head Dodger trainer Sue Falsone, and Mattingly said he knew from the look on Falsone's face there was a major problem. Turns out that blood and fluid was building up and putting a tremendous amount of pressure on Ellis' leg just below the knee, and it was getting worse by the moment. If the pressure hadn't been dealt with, it would have likely killed the muscle, tissue and nerves in the area within six to seven hours, possibly resulting in the loss of the limb. That's when the doctors got involved and decided to perform a fasciotomy, cutting a six-inch incision into the skin and opening a flap so the blood and fluid could drain. Ellis is expected to be in the hospital until Tuesday when the fluid should be gone. His prognosis is good, although the team says it won't know if there were any other injuries to the leg until the fluid disperses and the swelling is gone. Mattingly visited Ellis in the hospital after Saturday night's game, and said he was doing OK. "He was in a good a (mood) as you can be in. He had some medication in him so he was doing fine," said he said with a laugh. "It's amazing to me that you go from that play to something that could have been that serious if you don't (recognize) it." Doctors told Mattingly that the injury is rarely attained athletically; most cases like that are usually related to car crashes. The National League West leaders were looking to sweep the Cardinals, who led Cincinnati in the N.L. Central by a game going into the series finale. The Cards were nailed by the injury bug as well, losing Lance Berkman to the 15-day DL with a right knee injury. And the Dodgers pulled off another miracle to complete the sweep. St Louis took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring all their runs (three earned) against Dodger starter Chad Billingsley, who saw his ERA creep up near the 4.00 area (3.91). L.A. first baseman James Loney knocked in Adam Kennedy to make it 5-3, and then in the bottom of the seventh, rookie Scott Van Slyke smashed his first major league home runa three-run, pinch-hit shot over the left field wall off Cardinal reliever Marc Rzepczynski to give the Dodger their 6-5 margin of victory. After the game, Van Slykeson of former Cardinal Andy Van Slykesaid it was a thrill to hit his first big league bomb. "It was great," he said. "But more importantly it helped the team win." Los Angeles is now 28-13 and has a seven-game lead over San Francisco. St. Louis is 22-19, one-half game in front of the Reds. Javy Guerra (2-3) was the winner; Marc Rzepczynski (0-2) lost. Kenley Jansen earned his fifth save of the season. The Dodgers left for Arizona after the game to start a three game series with the Diamondbacks Monday night. The Cardinals travel 130 miles south for a three game set starting Monday with the San Diego Padres.
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