LOS ANGELES (AP) -A bruised hand forced right-hander Derek Lowe out of Wednesday night's start against the San Diego Padres, and will keep him on the sidelines until this weekend at the earliest.
Right-hander Chad Billingsley replaced Lowe, and left-hander David Wells will be moved up to pitch Thursday night in the finale of a crucial three-game series. San Diego took a 3 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL wild-card race into Wednesday night's game.
Lowe, 11-12 with a 3.80 ERA and three complete games, was injured while playing catch with fellow pitcher Jonathan Broxton before Tuesday night's game.
``I missed the ball,'' said Lowe, wearing a blue wrap on his right hand. ``We weren't messing around. Broxton never lobs anything. I just missed it. It had been a long time since I missed one.''
Lowe pointed to where the ball hit - on the meaty part of his hand between his thumb and forefinger.
Lowe underwent treatment throughout Tuesday night's game, won by the Padres 9-4.
``We were hoping the swelling would go down last night. It didn't go down as much as we hoped,'' he said. ``It's bruised and sore. I think they're going to get me a red jersey, like NFL quarterbacks - get somebody to catch the ball for me.
``Horrible timing. It caps off the year for me so far. It's been a real thriller.''
Manager Grady Little said he hoped Lowe would be ready to go Saturday in the second game of a three-game series against the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, with Brad Penny moving up from Saturday to Friday night to pitch the opener.
``I don't think it can be any sooner from what I saw,'' Little said. ``It's an unfortunate thing. There's so much swelling that he had trouble gripping the ball.''
Because of Monday's day off, Billingsley pitched on his normal four days' rest, and so will Wells and Penny.
Lowe said he wasn't sure whether he'd be ready by Saturday.
``I don't know anything about this stuff,'' he said. ``It's a deep bone bruise.''

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