Notes: Abreu injures shoulder vs. Astros

Notes: Abreu injures shoulder vs. Astros

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Promising Dodgers infielder Tony Abreu will be out two to four weeks with a moderate bone bruise to his left shoulder suffered when he dived headfirst into second base on an unsuccessful steal attempt in Saturday's 7-5 win over Houston.

Abreu remained prone and in pain for several minutes, then was carted off the field. He had his arm placed in a sling and was taken to a local hospital for and MRI that revealed the extent of the injury.

Abreu said his shoulder jammed when he hit the ground with arms fully extended in front of him. He was in noticeable pain on the field and said it was even worse as he was dressing to leave for the hospital. He said he had no history of shoulder injuries.

The 22-year-old Abreu, the No. 5-ranked prospect in the organization according to Baseball America, was having one of the most impressive camps on the club. He had just singled in the bottom of the seventh inning, raising his Spring Training batting average to .394. His 10 RBIs are tied for the club lead. He played last year at Double-A Jacksonville.

Bet on it: Wilson Betemit had the game-winning hit in Saturday's 7-5 victory over Houston, and he did it right-handed, bouncing a tie-breaking double down the third-base line off former Dodgers reliever Kelly Wunsch in a three-run eighth inning.

"I know I can hit right-handed," said the switch-hitting Betemit, who could do it at only a .189 clip last year. "It's coming. I have to be patient. Right-handed, I lean and jump at the ball. Eddie [Murray, hitting coach] tells me to stay back, but hit the ball in front of the plate, don't wait for it to come too deep.

"I also know that I move my head too much. I watch Olmedo Saenz hit and he's very quiet at the plate and that's how I want to be."

After a very slow start, Betemit's spring average is up to .250 with two hits and a walk Saturday.

"Lately, I like just about everything he's doing, to tell you the truth," said manager Grady Little. "He's been playing good baseball the last week. He's turned it up a bit. He's getting hits, right-handed as well as left-handed, and making plays. That's all we ask."

Little said if the season were to open Sunday, Andre Ethier would bat seventh in the order behind Russell Martin and Betemit would bat eighth.

"I like the way the lineup looks, regardless of the bottom," he said.

Earlier in the game, the top two of Little's order went 4-for-6, with Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre getting two hits each, Pierre driving in a pair with a run and Furcal scoring twice.

Pitching update: Brett Tomko burned up his pitch count in three innings, limiting the damage to only one run.

"He had a rough start, but he settled in and pitched okay," said Little.

The best outing of the day belonged to forgotten man D.J. Houlton, with two perfect innings that dropped his ERA to 1.35. Joe Mays was charged with three runs, looking better at the end than the beginning. Matt White allowed a home run in the ninth but got the save.

Simulation time: Reliever Joe Beimel was on the back field Saturday in a simulated game against Minor Leaguers, throwing 35 pitches in two innings, on breaking balls particularly.

"It was very productive," said Beimel. "I don't like giving up runs in games or walking guys and in this setting, you can fall behind in the count and throw a breaking ball and not worry about it. I like these simulated games. When you get in even an exhibition game, the competitiveness kicks in and don't want to get ripped around so you don't work on things that need working on."

Beimel said he has no lingering effects of the hand gash that wiped out his postseason.

"It's a non-issue," he said. "I feel pretty much ready for the season. The last game I pitched in, everything started to click. My arm speed was better and the pitches were crisper."

Injury update: Jason Repko ramped up his rehab from a strained groin muscle, sprinting straight ahead, working on turns and taking fly balls.

Duncan excused: First-base coach Mariano Duncan was excused for the weekend because of personal business. Mark Weidemaier, special assistant to the general manager, coached first base in the game.

World Congress of Sports: Dodgers Vice Chairman and President Jamie McCourt will take part in a panel discussion on sports, entertainment and some of the "hot-button" issues in today's news on Wednesday, March 21, presented by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal/Daily. The event, which will take place in New York, features McCourt, NCAA president Myles Brand, executive vice president of Business for Major League Baseball Tim Brosnan, St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts and executive vice president of content for ESPN John Skipper.

Coming up: Opening Day starter Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley are scheduled to pitch Sunday in Winter Haven against Cleveland, but the rest of the travel squad is light on regulars, with catcher Russell Martin and right fielder Andre Ethier the only ones scheduled to play.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.