Daily Distractions: Important roster decisions coming. Who will the Dodgers cut?

Jerry Hairston Jr.Mark EllisThe Dodgers are in the market for a pair of infielders.

Mark Ellis and Jerry Hairston Jr., currently on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps and left groin, respectively, are expected to join the team at some point during this weekend’s road trip to Atlanta. Both are rehabbing tonight with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.

But to take each off the disabled list means that another player must come off the active roster, and the choices are not obvious. After all, who expected Elian Herrera to get the first call-up when Hairston went on the disabled list two weeks ago?

That said, barring any (more) injuries, these are the four players whose time with the Dodgers may be at least temporarily up:

Luis Cruz. A gifted third baseman/shortstop, Cruz hasn’t hit enough this year to justify being on a major-league roster. In 69 at-bats, he has six singles for a .087 batting average and slugging percentage. Cruz is out of options, so the Dodgers would probably have to designate him for assignment. The prospect of closing the book on last year’s feel good story (and a player whose jerseys are still displayed prominently in the window of the Dodgers’ team store) has become a story in and of itself.

Ramon Hernandez. At 38, Hernandez’s bat speed isn’t what it used to be. He’s batting even below the Cruz Line, at .045, and the Dodgers have two catchers ahead of him on the depth chart. The Dodgers have two first basemen ahead of him on the depth chart, too, in Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke. Like Cruz, Hernandez would probably be designated for assignment since he’s been out of options since 2002.

– Van Slyke. Sending Van Slyke out doesn’t make as much sense, given the Dodgers’ need for power and a backup first baseman/corner outfielder, but they’ve cut him loose before. In nine plate appearances, SVS has a single, a home run, two strikeouts and a walk.

Dee Gordon. Like Van Slyke, there are reasons to keep Gordon but history isn’t on his side. The Dodgers never wanted Gordon playing an everyday shortstop role in the majors until he was ready, and Gordon’s .220 batting average and negative UZR (which is actually up from last season) aren’t strong signs of readiness. The Dodgers could easily platoon Cruz, Nick Punto, Juan Uribe and Hairston on the left side of the infield until Hanley Ramirez returns from the disabled list.

Some bullet points to tide you through the weekend:


• Don’t look now, but Yasiel Puig is 8 for his last 21 at Double-A Chattanooga; four of those eight hits are for extra bases.

• One more minor-league note: Alex Castellanos was activated from the Disabled List at Triple-A Albuquerque.

• From DailyNews.com: “(Paco) Rodriguez is just 31 games and 21 innings into his big-league career, but he’s already showing characteristics of being a future late-inning reliever.”

• Um, who taught Ian Kinsler how to slide?

• Among the replay options being considered by MLB: A fifth umpire on-site in a replay booth, a central replay facility similar to the NHL, a communication device worn by on-field umpires that would alert them when plays need to be reviewed, and challenge flags.

• I can’t read lips in Korean, but I’m pretty sure the first baseman in this video is telling the batter-runner, “Wanna get away?”

• If you have a lot of time to kill, this piece on turn-of-the-century Cuban star Alfredo Cabrera is worth it.

On this day in 1905: Waseda University of Tokyo defeats Los Angeles High School 5-3 in the first game of an American tour. It is the first baseball game ever played by Japanese outside Japan. Waseda started a powerhouse tradition at Japan’s Big Six universities that continues to this day.”

• Somewhere between their GAP-pop, “If I Ever Feel Better” period, and the arena-pop deluge on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the band Phoenix decided to pause on the banks of something remotely sophisticated: “Run Run Run.”

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