Mark Ellis has been a big contributor to the team's hot start, providing stellar defense at second base and getting on base at the top of the order, with a .373 on-base percentage and 27 runs scored in 37 games through Sunday's 6-5 win over St. Louis. But Ellis will be out for at least six weeks after getting placed on the disabled list on Saturday.
Ellis was hit in the side of his left leg on Friday night when Tyler Greene of the Cardinals slid into him at second base. Ellis was removed from the game and was sore afterward, but postgame x-rays showed no broken bones.
When he reported to the ballpark on Saturday, he felt pressure in his lower left leg and trainer Sue Falsone quickly discovered something was wrong with Ellis.
"Sue had a funny look on her face and I said, 'I don't like that look on your face,' and Mark didn't either," said manager Don Mattingly. "You could see it was serious."
Ellis was rushed to the hospital, where he had surgery on his leg, a fasciotomy, to relieve the pressure. Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache said it was a procedure often used for car accident victims. For Ellis, it could have been much more serious.
"That's serious stuff. I didn't realize how bad that was. As doc said last night, if that thing goes another six or seven hours, we have a chance of losing the leg," Mattingly said. "The muscle basically dies without any blood flow."
Ellis will be hospitalized until Tuesday, and miss at least six weeks. It could be even longer, depending on the health of his left knee. Given the urgency of the situation with his lower leg and the need for surgery, the Dodgers didn't have a chance to fully examine his knee.
"As we go, we're going to do more exams on his knee," Falsone said on Saturday. "What we had to do today was urgent so we're just focused on the lower leg right now."
The Dodgers will use a combination of Elian Herrera, Adam Kennedy, Justin Sellers, Ivan DeJesus, and (beginning Wednesday) Jerry Hairston Jr. at second base, as well as third base to fill in for Juan Uribe, who is also on the disabled list.
"I think he's a great player. The more you see him play, the better he is," Mattingly said of Ellis. "He's a tough guy to replace."
Slumping Gordon takes seat on bench
--SS Dee Gordon was benched "for a few games" by manager Don Mattingly Saturday after a 2-for-31 slump that saw Gordon's batting average drop to .200. Gordon is unlikely to start against LHPs Patrick Corbin and Joe Saunders on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, in Arizona. "Just thinking properly is what Dee needs to do right now. He's not going through anything that there haven't been a ton of guys go through," Mattingly said.
--2B Mark Ellis was placed on the disabled list with a left leg injury on Saturday and had to have urgent leg surgery, a fasciotomy, to relieve pressure in his lower left leg, stemming from Ellis getting hit on a slide by Tyler Green of the Cardinals at second base on Friday. Ellis is expected to be hospitalized through Tuesday and will miss at least six weeks.
--IFOF Jerry Hairston Jr., on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, will play in a pair of minor league games on a rehab assignment on Monday and Tuesday in extended spring training at the Dodgers complex in Glendale, Ariz., then get activated on Wednesday for the finale of the Dodgers' series against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
--RHP Matt Guerrier had to rest for three days with elbow soreness after throwing a bullpen session with breaking balls on Wednesday in San Diego. The reliever could be back by early June, but it will depend on how his elbow responds. "He keeps moving forward as long as he can," Guerrier said. "I haven't heard a timetable yet."
--OF1B Scott Van Slyke hit his first major league home run on Sunday night, hitting a pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning to give the Dodgers a 6-5 lead in their win over the Cardinals by the same score.
BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Major league plate appearances it took Scott Van Slyke to hit his first home run, a three-run shot that gave the Dodgers a 6-5 win over the Cardinals on Sunday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think he's a great player. The more you see him play, the better he is. He's a tough guy to replace." -- Manager Don Mattingly, on 2B Mark Ellis, who is out at least six weeks after undergoing surgery on his left leg.
ROSTER REPORT MEDICAL WATCH:
--2B Mark Ellis (left leg surgery) was placed on the disabled list on May 19. Ellis is expected to be hospitalized through May 22 and will miss at least six weeks.
--RHP Matt Guerrier (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19. He threw a bullpen session May 16 and then had to rest for three days with elbow soreness. He could be back by early June, but it will depend on how his elbow responds.
--INFOF Jerry Hairston Jr. (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 7. He will play in a pair of minor league games on a rehab assignment on May 21 and 22 in extended spring training at the Dodgers complex in Glendale, Ariz., then get activated on May 23.
--3B Juan Uribe (sprained left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list May 14. He expected to see a specialist during the weekend of May 18-20.
--CF Matt Kemp (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 14. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection May 15 and began stretching and throwing drills May 17. He is expected to return from the disabled list on May 29, the first day he is eligible.
--OF1B Juan Rivera (ruptured left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list May 9. He is expected to be out until at least late June.
--RHP Blake Hawksworth (arthroscopic right elbow surgeries in January 2012 and February 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list March 27.
--RHP Rubby De La Rosa (Tommy John surgery in August 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26.