August 2009

Dodgers Look to Improve Bench

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti is trying to acquire a run-producing pinch-hitter before Sept. 1, but the market is thin. Any player who joins the organization by Tuesday would be eligible for post-season play. Mark Loretta and Juan Pierre are the Dodgers’ primary pinch-hitters. Loretta is 11-for-51 (.216) with no homers and six RBIs pinch-hitting, only two of those RBIs since the All-Star break. Pierre has shown to be an effective pinch-hitter despite disliking the role (12-for-33, .364), but has no homers or RBIs and is often used to lead off an inning. Of the Dodgers’ four pinch-homers this year, two were hit by regular starters (Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal). The others were by Blake DeWitt (expected to be recalled from Triple-A next week) and the disabled Xavier Paul. Doug Mientkiewicz, who had the role until blowing out his shoulder and having surgery, is expected to be activated when rosters expand Tuesday. — Ken Gurnick

Padilla Active, Schmidt Done, Abreu Optioned

To make room for Thursday starting pitcher Vicente Padilla on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers placed Jason Schmidt on the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his tenure with the club. Schmidt is in the final season of a three-year deal and has hinted he will retire. He went 2-2 in four starts last month, but was placed on the disabled list with recurring shoulder problems. In three seasons with the Dodgers he won a total of three games and had two shoulder operations. The Dodgers also optioned infielder Tony Abreu to Triple-A and he is expected to return Sept. 1 when rosters expand. — Ken Gurnick

Padilla Tunes Up With Win

Vicente Padilla, expected to be promoted to start for the Dodgers Thursday in Colorado, tuned up for that one with a win at Triple-A Albuquerque Saturday night. Padilla allowed two runs on three hits in five innings, striking out five with three walks. He made 84 pitches and allowed a home run in Albuquerque’s 8-4 win over Nashville. Padilla was signed last week after being released by Texas. He will take over the spot of disabled Opening Day starter Hiroki Kuroda. — Ken Gurnick

Martin Fined by MLB

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin was fined $1,000 by MLB for his part in a bench-clearing incident in San Francisco Aug. 12. Martin was fined for attempting to confront San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval and needing to be restrained several times by teammate Brad Ausmus. Sandoval was hit by a James McDonald pitch that he swung at and he moved toward the mound, triggering the incident. There were no ejections on the play. — Ken Gurnick

Abreu Arrives Again

Moves seem to be coming with the Dodgers, who not only are pursuing soon-to-be free agent pitcher Vicente Padilla, but apparently are calling up infielder Tony Abreu from Triple-A Albuquerque. Abreu has been on fire for the Isotopes, batting .360 in 45 games there. He spent two days earlier this month with the Dodgers. The likely move would be placing Hiroki Kuroda on the disabled list with a concussion from the line drive he took off his head Saturday night in Arizona. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Pursuing Padilla

Initially the Dodgers were lukewarm about signing soon-to-be free agent Vicente Padilla. But with Hiroki Kuroda suffering from a concussion and likely to go on the disabled list, the Dodgers now are in pursuit of the right-handed Padilla, who will be cut loose by the Texas Rangers later Wednesday.  The 31-year-old Padilla went 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA for Texas and likely would need a Minor League start or two before pitching for the Dodgers. He last started Aug. 5. The Rangers are on the hook for the remainder of his $12 million and the Dodgers would be responsible for around $100,000. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Sign Gould

The Dodgers Friday signed second-round draft pick Garrett Gould, a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher from Maize (KS) High School.  Gould was considered a first-round talent but slipped to the Dodgers at 65th overall because of bonus demands, with a scholarship at Wichita State as leverage. The Dodgers have signed each of their first 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of the 2009 draft. — Ken Gurnick

Billingsley Scratched

Chad Billingsley was scratched from his scheduled start against the Giants Wednesday, manager Joe Torre announced. Torre made the decision after watching Billingsley spin off his tender left hamstring while throwing a bullpen session at AT&T Park before Monday night’s game with the Giants. Torre said no decision had been made on whether Billingsley would be disabled or who will start Wednesday. Among the candidates on the current roster are Jeff Weaver and James McDonald. — Ken Gurnick

Blake Injures Wrist

Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake was scratched from Sunday’s starting lineup after injuring his left wrist lifting weights after Saturday’s game. The injury is not believed to be serious, but Blake was scheduled to have an x-ray around game time. — Ken Gurnick

Belisario in Simulated Game

Dodgers rookie reliever Ronald Belisario is currently throwing a simulated game to hitters Juan Pierre and Juan Castro at Turner Field. Disabled since July 6 with a tender elbow, Belisario will be sent on a rehab assignment next week if he comes out of this workout healthy. — Ken Gurnick