Lowe sidelined until at least Saturday with hurt hand

LOS ANGELES -- 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. The Dodgers won for just the third time in their last 11 games against the Padres Wednesday, moving within 2 1/2 games of San Diego in the NL wild-card race. Philadelphia and Colorado also trail the Padres by 2 1/2 games.

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."