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Starting left side of infield sits for Dodgers

Blake, Furcal rest nagging injuries

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LOS ANGELES -- Hiroki Kuroda returned to the mound for the Dodgers on Monday night and probably needed an introduction to the left side of his infield.

Third baseman Casey Blake missed a third consecutive game because of a strained right hamstring, replaced by Mark Loretta. Shortstop Rafael Furcal also was out of the lineup as a precautionary measure, replaced by Juan Castro.

Blake told manager Joe Torre he was ready to play and set out to prove it by running the bases for trainer Stan Conte, but Torre wanted him to take an extra day.

"We'll look at it again tomorrow," Torre said. "He wants to play, but just the fact that a couple of days ago, even if he pinch-hit, I would have had to pinch-run for him. Last night he was serviceable and tonight the same."

Torre can't afford to burn two players in one move after sending third catcher A.J. Ellis back to Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday to clear space on the roster for Kuroda.

As for Furcal, with last year's back surgery and his recent strained buttocks muscle, Conte suggested to Torre last week that Furcal rest Monday night because of the overnight flight home from Chicago and short rest after Sunday night's game.

Furcal said he felt fine and wanted to play.

As for the replacements, Loretta entered the game batting .321 and Castro .357.

In other injury news, disabled reliever Will Ohman, who is on the 15-day disabled list, was to receive a cortisone injection in his irritated acromio-clavicular joint, the top of the shoulder where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade.

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

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