SAN DIEGO (AP) — It's been a bumpy road for the Los Angeles Dodgers since they returned stateside after beginning the season with two wins against Arizona in Australia.
Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw is expected to miss the bulk of April with a swollen muscle in his left upper back, and now reliever Brian Wilson will be placed on the disabled list with what manager Don Mattingly said is nerve irritation in his right elbow.
The Dodgers did manage to beat the San Diego Padres 3-2 on Tuesday after Kenley Jansen escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning. Yasiel Puig hit a 410-foot drive for a two-run homer and Zack Greinke threw five strong innings to win his season debut.
Mattingly said Wilson had an MRI on Monday that showed nerve irritation. Mattingly said there was no sign of ligament damage. Wilson had reconstructive surgery in April 2012.
"The MRI overall was not good news, but it was better than it could have been," Mattingly said. "I was pleased and relieved that it wasn't something bigger than what it is. We feel like it's something that just needs to calm down and then kind of built going the other direction."
The Dodgers' bullpen has had a rough go since returning from Sydney. Wilson allowed three runs in the eighth inning of Sunday night's 3-1 loss, and Jansen had to dance out of trouble in the ninth on Tuesday.
The Padres loaded the bases with two out on singles by Yonder Alonso and Will Venable, and a walk to Yasmani Grandal. Jansen then struck out pinch-hitter Nick Hundley to earn his second save in two chances.
Mattingly thinks the bullpen is going to be fine over time.
"We've had one bad inning, really. We're getting it done, but it's just a little rough right now," he said. "It's not as smooth as it can be. Confident with our guys I think as we get into the normal work, normal days, we'll be OK."
Carl Crawford started the game with a base hit and Puig then drove a 2-1 pitch from Ian Kennedy into the balcony on the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner. It was his first homer.
"At the time, when it happens so fast, I don't know if I caught too much plate," Kennedy said. "He did a really good job of getting his hands up. He's a really good hitter. Puig did a good job of hitting what I thought was a good pitch. But he's one of the best hitters in the National League."