First it was the pitchers. Now the Dodger position players’ health is unraveling like a spool of thread with Mark Ellis‘ quadricep, Hanley Ramirez‘s hamstring and Jerry Hairston Jr.’s groin all giving out within a 10-day span.
Hairston could join Ellis and Ramirez on the disabled list soon if he isn’t able to play the outfield. Among the Dodgers’ reserves, only Skip Schumaker is a natural outfielder (infielders Luis Cruz and Justin Sellers have made cameos there during spring training). Manager Don Mattingly had a clear criterion for Hairston to avoid the disabled list.
“Either he can play the outfield or he can’t go at all,” Mattingly said. “Jerry’s going to need to be able to play the outfield for us to not have to make a move.”
Help could already be on the way, as Hairston left the field early during batting practice Monday afternoon. No DL announcement has been made yet and probably won’t until tomorrow. The Dodgers are playing the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight with four healthy outfielders (including Schumaker) and Hairston no matter what.
If Hairston does go on the disabled list, Mattingly said “I want more of a guy who can play both corners” — right and left.
He mentioned Alex Castellanos, Elian Herrera and Alfredo Amezaga as minor-leaguers who can play all three outfield positions. Castellanos and Herrera are on the 40-man roster, while Amezaga is not. Neither is Scott Van Slyke, who’s hitting .404 with a .760 slugging percentage for Triple-A Albuquerque. Van Slyke has played regularly in right field, and irregularly in left, in past years at Triple-A but has only played first base this year.
Castellanos probably won’t get the call since he is on the Isotopes’ disabled list.
At some point, the Dodgers figure to transfer Chad Billingsley to the 60-day disabled list to create a spot on the 40-man roster. They might do so now so they can bring up Amezaga or Van Slyke from Albuquerque.