D’Backs @ Dodgers June 10, 2013: What, Put an Injured Player on the DL?

June 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

dodger_stadium_2013_150x150The good news, as it often seems to these days, begins and ends with Yasiel Puig, who may or may not be on his way to being the best player of all time. The rookie capped off a fantastic first week in which he wowed everyone by winning the National League Player of the Week award. He’s the first Dodger rookie to do so since Andre Ethier in 2006, but for everyone who asked if it’s some kind of record for a player to win that award in his very first week in the bigs… Manny Machado did the same thing for Baltimore last season.

After a week’s worth of leading off Puig gets his first start at cleanup tonight against Wade Miley and the Diamondbacks. (Danny Knobler shares the sad history of young Dodger hitters hitting cleanup.) That’s fine, I suppose, because we were all sick of seeing him come up after the pitcher in every inning that wasn’t the first… but that’s about where the good news ends tonight.

D’Backs
Dodgers
CF
Pollock
SS
Punto
2B
Bloomquist
2B
M.Ellis
1B
Goldschmidt
1B
Gonzalez
LF
Ross
RF
Puig
C
Montero
LF
Hairston
3B
Prado
CF
Ethier
RF
Parra
3B
Uribe
SS
Pennington
C
Federowicz
P
Miley
P
Kershaw

Adrian Gonzalez & Puig hit third and fourth, which isn’t unexpected, but unfortunately Don Mattingly has so few options at his disposal that he has to have Nick Punto & Mark Ellis hitting ahead of them, and as awful as that is — the duo has six hits in 49 June plate appearances — I’m also looking at the rest of the lineup and honestly wondering what I would do differently. At least Luis Cruz isn’t playing, I guess?

Also not playing: Hanley Ramirez, and your guess is as good as mine on this one. Bill Shaikin reports that Ramirez will not go on the disabled list and hopes to play in a few days, but he followed that up by quoting Mattingly saying, “This is not another 15 days. It may be 4 or 5.” Anyone remember how well that worked out for Ellis? We could be in for additional days of a wasted spot just for Ramirez to return to the disabled list, or worse, try once again to return too quickly and injure himself further.

This in-between business is just brutal — if he’s not healthy enough to play, which it seems clear that he isn’t, then just put the man on the disabled list already. (If not for the late-inning appearances, this would be day five of his absence, not day two.) You could hear Mattingly’s unhappiness at the situation coming out in his post-game comments yesterday, and while the Ramirez situation remains unsettled, the Dodgers did at least add another body to the bench by optioning Matt Magill back to Albuquerque and recalling infielder Justin Sellers.

Sellers hit .337/.376/.489 in 24 games (yay, Albuquerque!) since returning to the Isotopes on May 12, playing mostly shortstop until moving to second and third when Dee Gordon joined him there. That, I assume, is why he’s up instead of Gordon, though we briefly thought otherwise when Gordon was not in the Triple-A lineup last night. Sellers is the far superior defensive player, both in quality and versatility, so he or Elian Herrera seemed to be the best fit. But that’s the sad part, isn’t it? Because even though Sellers is the likely best choice here given the circumstances… you’re still in a situation where Justin Sellers is your best choice. That’s not good for anyone. (Mattingly, by the way, had no input into Sellers coming up. That’s either a daily fact of being a field manager or further evidence of a gap in communication, depending on your perspective.)

That’s all just for now, anyway, since this team’s roster exists on a day-by-day basis. It’s hardly a given that Ramirez or Ellis don’t end up on the disabled list tomorrow, and Ethier was originally questionable to even play tonight, thanks to a sore foot. It’s cool though, he’s just banged-up and playing center field against a lefty pitcher, so nothing bad could possibly come from that.

All of which overshadows the fact that the great Clayton Kershaw is on the mound tonight, while we won’t see exciting young Arizona shortstop Didi Gregorius, we will see the absolutely beastly Paul Goldschmidt and the pure evil of Gerardo Parra. And the otherwise inoffensive grit of Willie BloomquistCliff Pennington, I suppose.

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