Before Saturday’s game, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly provided the closest thing to a clue about who will be called up from the minor leagues on Monday, when teams are allowed to carry every player on their 40-man roster to every game for the remainder of the season.
(As an aside, the Dodgers play a September series in Chicago against the Cubs. Wrigley Field’s visiting clubhouse is the smallest in the major leagues. This could become baseball’s equivalent of a clown car and I can’t wait to find out how it’ll look.)
Mattingly didn’t name names, but said “I think it’s maybe five or six (players),” noting that injuries could affect the number.
Outfielder Joc Pederson is almost certainly among the five or six, and he’ll get the most attention of the group if he’s recalled as expected. He’s 22 years old, is ranked among the top 30 prospects in baseball by every major media outlet that ranks prospects, and just won the Pacific Coast League’s MVP and rookie of the year awards.
Mattingly got a close look at Pederson’s five-tool game in spring training and in Sydney. Apparently that was all he needed to see.
“You look at him, you know what he can do, you know he can play,” Mattingly said. “You use him however you’re going to try to use him.”
Pederson isn’t on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, which is full. A spot would open if the Dodgers were to recall pitcher Stephen Fife from Triple-A and place him on the 60-day disabled list. Fife recently underwent Tommy John surgery and won’t pitch again this season.
Others on the short list of candidates include catcher Tim Federowicz, infielders Carlos Triunfel, Erisbel Arruebarrena and Alex Guerrero, and pitchers Yimi Garcia and Red Patterson. Mattingly recently ruled out recalling left-handed reliever Jarret Martin, who just finished his first season of Double-A ball.
With the exception of Pederson — whose role could be very fluid, depending on whether or not his torrid hitting continues — we have a decent idea of where each of these players fit on the Dodgers’ depth chart.
• Federowicz is the third catcher.
• Guerrero, Triunfel and Arruebarrena offer middle-infield insurance behind Darwin Barney, Miguel Rojas and Justin Turner (who’ll return to the bench once Juan Uribe is activated from the DL either Sunday or Monday).
• Patterson was a starter in Albuquerque and could be a spot starter for the Dodgers if the need arises due to injuries. Right now, Carlos Frias and Kevin Correia are first and second in line (in some order) to make a spot start.
“The guys you have always provide something,” Mattingly said. “If you’re in a blowout-type game, to give a guy a few innings off; to be able to cover you in the bullpen, where some days you know you’ve got two guys that are down, where you’re just worried about the innings themselves. The extra pinch hitter, the early pinch hitter, different things you can use a guy for.
“It won’t be a tryout camp, that’s for sure. Guys, depending on what happens in the last month, could be very important to what we do. Right now, we’ve got a pretty good mixture of our lineup. We’re not going to come in and start giving guys at-bats. It won’t be a spring training-type situation.”
One (really) minor subplot to all this: Triple-A Albuquerque has one game left in its season after the deadline, a meaningless Monday afternoon home game against Las Vegas. Let’s say six players are recalled off the Isotopes’ roster. The team can probably get by for that one day, depending on which six players are called up.
The boys in Chattanooga better hope so. The Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate has a Monday afternoon game too — against Tennessee, in a contest that could decide the Lookouts’ season. Chattanooga and Tennessee are in a virtual tie in the Southern League’s second-half standings entering play today. The winner of their division goes to the playoffs, the loser goes home. Both teams would like a full deck of players to choose from for that game.
Update (12:10 p.m.): Miguel Rojas and Carlos Frias will be among the players recalled when rosters expand. Both players were optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday to make room for Hyun-Jin Ryu and Juan Uribe, who were both activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Rojas told me he’ll be back Tuesday after playing in Albuquerque tomorrow. Mattingly confirmed that he and Frias are both coming back Tuesday, while the first wave of call-ups arrive Monday.