Dodgers @ Angels May 30, 2013: Three Catchers, Zero Center Fielders

May 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

angelstadiumSo after an entire day of speculating about what the Dodgers might do if they had to disable Matt Kemp, going through all of the potential options, the answer is — as you guessed it might be — Tim Federowicz. Because when your team has a million fungible utility infielders and exactly zero viable center fielders, why wouldn’t you want the luxury of a third catcher? Frankly, I’m not sure why we didn’t just predict this right off the bat.

I am of course being just a tad sarcastic here, because there’s a pretty valid reason for this — A.J. Ellis is dealing with a sore muscle in his left side. (“And that’s why you don’t DFA Ramon Hernandez,” says J. Walter Weatherman.) We’re getting a whole lot of conflicting reports about this; Dylan Hernandez says that it “could be a DL situation”, J.P. Hoornstra says the move to add a third catcher “is temporary”, while Scott Miller of CBS says they “hope to know more in a day or two.”.

Van Slyke

Both Federowicz and Hernandez are in the lineup tonight, and yes, that is Andre Ethier playing center field, against a lefty no less. With Ted Lilly, a flyball pitcher, on the mound. This team really just never stops being fun.

So the real question now is… what’s next? It’s there where things keep getting more and more complicated. In addition to the uncertainty over Ellis, Ethier really can’t be more than a stopgap in center for a day or two, and so of course everyone has been clamoring for the promotion of either Joc Pederson or Yasiel Puig. Speculation of such a move only got hotter when the Double-A Lookouts were the only game in the Southern League not to have announced their lineup 30 minutes before first pitch… and then got white-hot when we saw that Puig was playing center field and Pederson was nowhere to be found.

That doesn’t mean with 100% certainty that Pederson is coming, and in fact Don Mattingly is actively saying now that he thinks that they’ll call up someone from Triple-A to man center field. If so, that’s more than likely Elian Herrera, who is on the 40-man roster but not in tonight’s Albuquerque lineup (Tony Gwynn, not on the 40-man, is in center). Then again, it would hardly be the first time Mattingly and Ned Colletti didn’t seem to be on the same page.

We’ll have to learn more about that, but Pederson sitting out tonight certainly seems like a lot more than simply a coincidence. (Unless it’s just Jody Reed, the Chattanooga manager, trolling everyone in a most remarkable fashion.) Some are already deciding that Puig is playing center for a few games so he can come replace Kemp — similar to how Scott Van Slyke was quickly pushed back to the outfield after a season of playing first base — and perhaps that’s true. But given that we heard just last week that the organization has had conversations about recalling Puig or Pederson even before Kemp’s hamstring went, it would be more than a little surprising to me if they tried to just get through the next few weeks with Herrera. (Though take note, as Bill Shaikin did, that Pederson is both slumping and having trouble against lefties.)

If Pederson really is on his way, then the next move really depends on Ellis. Moving him to the disabled list would be the easy (if depressing) option. But don’t forget as well that Hanley Ramirez will probably be activated on Monday, so there’s definitely moves to come. For those still hoping that the end of Luis Cruz‘ time is near, watch Jerry Hairston very closely tonight as he starts over Cruz and Juan Uribe at third. At the very least, at least the team probably made the right move in taking the decision to play out of Kemp’s hands.

In other minor-league news: Stephen Fife was activated from the disabled list and optioned back to Albuquerque, while in Chattanooga, third baseman C.J. Retherford was released so the team could activate Sean Burroughs. Yes, that Sean Burroughs.

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