Minors await Gagne, Izturis

Injured Dodgers set to begin rehab assignments

(Tom Jones)

By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com | May 21, 2006 1:41 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Eric Gagne and Cesar Izturis remain on target for a return to Minor League game action this week.

Gagne will throw another batting practice session Monday. Barring anything unforeseen, he is expected to join Triple-A Las Vegas to begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment by midweek. The 51s play at Round Rock, Texas, on Wednesday and Thursday, then open a homestand Friday.

Izturis leaves for the Dodgers' Vero Beach, Fla., complex on Thursday and will begin play as a designated hitter in the extended Spring Training camp. Once he is comfortable offensively (anticipated to be a week or less), he will join the 51s in Las Vegas for a rehab assignment that could last less than three weeks.

Manager Grady Little remains non-committal about Izturis' role once he returns, although Izturis still considers himself a Gold Glove shortstop with no interest in learning to become an outfielder.

Dr. Frank Jobe said he would still prefer that Izturis move to second base because throws from that position should put less stress on not only his reconstructed elbow ligament, but on arthritically deteriorating cartilage on the opposite side of the elbow.

Izturis said he believes only the throw from the hole between short and third is more stressful on the elbow than throws across his body from second base on double plays and grounders behind the bag.

Jobe also said he's very pleased with the progress Gagne has made since April 7 surgery to remove a nerve from his elbow. Jobe said he believes the damage to the nerve most likely was the result of a direct trauma and not from any throwing motion.

"He must have bumped it somehow on something," said Jobe. "That wouldn't happen from the throwing motion."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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