Scott Elbert to receive first big-league callup tomorrow

The Dodgers are expected to purchase the contract of the left-hander and former first-round draft pick from Double-A Jacksonville. Corresponding move will be announced at that time. Once one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, Elbert missed most of last season with a shoulder injury that effectively turned him into a reliever, at least for now. At Jacksonville this season, he has made one start and 24 relief appearances and gone 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA. He has allowed just 22 hits in 41 1/3 innings, struck out 46 and walked 20.

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Sturtze designated for assignment

Tanyon Sturtze’s one-day reprieve turned into exactly that. He was DFA’d today to make room for Cory Wade to come off the DL. What the Dodgers have done in DFA’ing Pablo Ozuna and Sturtze the past two days is clear two 40-man spots, which are expected to be filled in the next few days by reliever Scott Proctor when he is activated from the 60-day DL and catcher A.J. Ellis when his contract is purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas for the September roster expansion. They’ll still need to clear 40-man spots for Rafael Furcal and Jason Schmidt if they come back anytime this season. Players on the 15-day DL count against the 40-man roster, while players on the 60-day do not.

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Tonight’s lineup: Ramirez/Kent flipped, Martin and Nomar sit

I asked Torre last night if he was thinking about a change with Kent because he had stopped benefiting from hitting in front of Manny. He said he didn’t want to announce a change without taking a long look at it. Well, I guess he took a long look at it. Kent is hitting fourth tonight, in front of Loney, the first time he has hit in front of anyone other than Manny since he hit in front of Casey Blake on Aug. 5. Nomar has three hits in his past 30 at-bats. Martin isn’t slumping, but he needs a day off, and the Dodgers don’t have any day games after night games coming up. … By the way, I wrote in today’s paper that Jeff Kent is 5 for 28 since he was given last Thursday off. My mistake. He is 5 for 27. I was counting an 11th inning at-bat on Sunday night at Philly. That was actually Pablo Ozuna, who had entered defensively for Kent in the bottom of the ninth.

Kemp. CF
Ethier. RF
Ramirez. LF
Kent. 2B
Loney. 1B
Blake. 3B
Ardoin. C
Berroa. SS
Kershaw. LHP

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The one that got away

It’s hard to blame the Dodgers for letting Joel Hanrahan get away. Although he was long one of their top pitching prospects, the key word there is “long.” He was in the organization for seven seasons, spending at least parts of three of them in Triple-A, and yet he was never quite able to make the jump to the majors. He also seemed to backslide in 2005, the year after he spent the entire season at Las Vegas and went 7-7 with a decent-for-the-PCL 5.05 ERA. But he backslid in 2005, started the season in high Single-A after coming back from an injury, then never got above Double-A the rest of the year. He split 2006 between Jacksonville and Las Vegas, but no one could blame him when he left after that season for minor-league free agency, something he had earned the right to do after accruing so much time in the minors. When the Nationals signed him to a major-league contract two winters ago — he still began the season in Triple-A — no one could have imagined that he would eventually become their closer. It was even more difficult to imagine that he would post saves on back-to-back nights against his old club. But as critical as I have been of Nats GM Jim Bowden — see my previous post — you have to give Jimbo credit for finding this one. And you have to give Hanrahan credit for establishing a niche, and a foothold, in the majors after all those years in the minors with the Dodgers.

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Professionalism takes a vacation

Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, a man who was difficult to take seriously when I first met him eight years ago when he was the Reds GM and I was starting on the beat there, is even MORE difficult to take seriously now. As he walked onto the field today to watch his team taking batting practice, he was wearing fake Manny Ramirez dreadlocks under a Nationals cap. This is the same guy who, on a Reds interleague trip to Texas in 2002, stood behind the cage dressed head to toe in Western wear, including cowboy hat and cowboy boots. Despite the props, he didn’t in any way look the part, and the scouts who typically gather in the press box just before the game were laughing hysterically at him. One day, when he is done playing around, Jimbo might want to put some time into building a team that doesn’t have the worst record in the majors. … Dodgers decided to hold off on that second roster move, so Tanyon Sturtze gets a reprieve. He might not even be the odd man out now. Torre said it depends on what happens tonight and how deep he has to go into the bullpen.

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