Checking in on former Dodger Elian Herrera.

Not to rub salt in an open wound for Dodgers fans, but …

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was still gushing about the defense of his shortstop Friday, former Dodger Elian Herrera. In the seventh inning Herrera made a brilliant play to dive and catch a line drive by Matt Kemp, then shovel the ball to second base to double off Adrian Gonzalez.

It was only the fifth game Herrera has played at shortstop this season. Roenicke said that Herrera has been “better than OK. He’s really done a nice job.”

Herrera hasn’t made an error in 31 innings at shortstop. In fact, he hasn’t made an error at any of the six positions he’s played this season.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t use Herrera much at shortstop the last two seasons — just three innings total. Herrera saw more time at all three outfield positions, and second and third base, as a Dodger. As a result, Roenicke said he wasn’t really sure how Herrera would fare as Jean Segura‘s backup.

Besides his defense, Herrera is batting .275/.292/.324 in 45 games this season.

Daily Distractions: Red Patterson up, will start second game of doubleheader in MLB debut.

Nick Buss

Outfielder Nick Buss was designated for assignment Thursday. (Associated Press photo)

Red Patterson‘s major-league debut will come in the second game of a doubleheader today against the Minnesota Twins.

The Dodgers selected the contract of Patterson from Triple-A Albuquerque and designated Albuquerque outfielder Nick Buss for assignment. Patterson, who will wear No. 51, was added to the roster as the 26th man for today’s doubleheader. Major-league rules allow teams to dress 26 players in a day-night doubleheader that has been on the schedule for at least 24 hours.

Patterson went 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four starts this season with the Isotopes, last pitching on April 24 at Fresno and allowing five runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings in a loss. The 26-year-old has gone 33-12 with a 3.40 ERA in 132 games (58 starts) in five minor league seasons after he was selected in the 29th round of the 2010 draft out of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Patterson has 432 strikeouts, while walking only 148, in 440.0 career minor league innings.

The Texas native made his first appearance in Major League camp this year as a non-roster invitee and allowed only one run in 11.2 innings (0.77 ERA), going 0-1 and limiting opponents to a .146 batting average (6-for-41). As for the name, shared by a longtime Dodgers PR director, it comes from his hair color. Patterson’s real first name is John.

Buss, 27, had a .261/.330/.391 slash line in 26 games with Albuquerque. He was buried on an outfield depth chart that includes Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke and Chone Figgins. Mike Baxter was designated for assignment in March. Buss went 2-for-19 after making his major-league debut with the Dodgers last September.

Here are the lineups for both teams in Game 1. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 a.m.

Dodgers:
Gordon 2B
Puig RF
Ramirez SS
Gonzalez 1B
Kemp DH
Ethier CF
Uribe 3B
Olivo C
Crawford LF
Haren P

Twins:
Dozier 2B
Mauer 1B
Plouffe 3B
Kubel LF
Pinto DH
Suzuki C
Fuld RF
Hicks CF
Escobar SS
Pelfrey P

Some bullet points for a World Book Day:
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Daily Distractions: Qualifying offers trickling in, Elian Herrera claimed by Milwaukee Brewers, etc.

Hiroki Kuroda

Former Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda received a qualifying offer worth $14.1 million from the New York Yankees today. (Getty Images)

It’s been a busy day for qualifying offers around the majors. Among the names reported today to have received the $14.1 million offers for 2014: Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli, Carlos Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brian McCann and Kendrys Morales.

All those players could be off the market by tomorrow if they accept the qualifying offer.

If they don’t, and certainly not all will, the Dodgers and 28 other teams are faced with a choice: Sign the player as a free agent, or sacrifice a 2014 first-round draft pick. For a team like the Dodgers, who have a handful of high-level prospects but not many more tradeable assets in their farm system, that’s a difficult and expensive signing to justify. Cano is arguably the only elite player on that list and the Dodgers aren’t expected to make a run at him.

The others — some of whom made my short list of players to watch — just made themselves a little less attractive to the Dodgers.

A few bullet points for a Panamanian Flag Day:
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Dodgers designate Ted Lilly for assignment and recall Elian Herrera.

Ted Lilly

Ted Lilly spent more time on the disabled list than the Dodgers’ active roster this season, going 0-2 in five starts. (Associated Press)

The Dodgers designated Ted Lilly for assignment Thursday, ending the 37-year-old pitcher’s tenure in Los Angeles — and maybe his career.

“More than anything this year, it’s been an injury thing,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Nobody wanted to do this. We like Ted. We think he can pitch. He just wouldn’t stay healthy.”

Lilly spent more time on the disabled this season than the active roster.
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With Matt Kemp on the disabled list, Dodgers will recall a ‘true center fielder’ soon.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp leaves the field with athletic trainer Nancy Pattersonon Wednesday night after straining his right hamstring in a 4-3 loss to the Angels (Associated Press)

Of all the frustrations Matt Kemp has had to deal with this season, a trip to the disabled list was not among them — until Thursday.

Kemp is optimistic he can return once his 15 days are up, which projects to June 14 at Pittsburgh, after straining his right hamstring Wednesday night in Anaheim.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “I love playing baseball. I hate being hurt. This is my second year of being hurt.

“This is a small little obstacle but I’m used to playing 162 games and playing every day.”

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Scott Van Slyke returns, Elian Herrera optioned to Albuquerque.

As expected, the Dodgers selected the contract of Scott Van Slyke and added him to their major league roster Friday. Elian Herrera was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque and Chad Billingsley was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to make room for Van Slyke.

Van Slyke was hitting .397/.503/.733 for Albuquerque, with a team-leading nine home runs and 30 RBIs.

“He’s got a chance to hit a ball in the seats,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Mattingly said he wanted a right-handed bat in the outfield and an additional jolt of power. The Dodgers have hit 23 home runs as a team, the second-fewest total in the National League, and Herrera relies as much on the bunt as the line drive to get on base.

Herrera started in left field Wednesday and got one hit in three at-bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Van Slyke is available off the bench tonight.

How much will Elian Herrera play for the Dodgers?

Elian HerreraElian Herrera will be available to the Dodgers off the bench today and manager Don Mattingly hinted that Herrera would spell Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford or right fielder Andre Ethier in the starting lineup tomorrow.

Ethier hasn’t been given a day off by the manager (not the schedule) since April 7, Crawford since getting back to back days off on April 30 and May 1. That’s weighed on Mattingly lately, though he acknowledged that the injuries to Jerry Hairston Jr. and Mark Ellis last week left him little choice until both players ultimately went on the 15-day disabled list.

“We’ve had a lot of guys hurt and it’s like we just keep throwing everybody else out there,” Mattingly said. “We want to have that option on the left-hander, to give Carl or Dre a day off.”

The Dodgers will see a left-hander, Wade Miley, tomorrow in the series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Dodgers place Jerry Hairston Jr. on the disabled list, recall Elian Herrera from Albuquerque.

Elian HerreraThe Dodgers placed Jerry Hairston Jr. on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin Tuesday as expected and recalled utilityman Elian Herrera from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Herrera was hitting .250/.310/.336 for the Isotopes. He had at least one hit in his last seven starts, and is batting .306 (11 for 36) with two home runs in his last eight games. He batted .294/.333/.353 in spring training with the Dodgers with three extra-base hits, all doubles, in 51 at-bats.

With the Dodgers down to four healthy outfielders — Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Skip Schumaker — Herrera figures to see more time in the outfield than the infield while he’s here.

Jerry Hairston Jr.’s groin injury could open a spot for an outfielder in Los Angeles, but who?

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.”
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Chicago White Sox 2, Dodgers 2: Postgame thoughts.

There are no ties in baseball. Except when it’s spring training.

Neither the Dodgers (0-1-1) or White Sox (1-0-1) were content to let the exhibition season end without needing three numbers to describe their record. Either that or Robin Ventura, the home manager, elected not to play after exactly three hours of baseball at Camelback Ranch on Sunday.

Dodgers reliever Peter Moylan surrendered a 2-run home run to White Sox slugger Adam Dunn in his first Cactus League inning. The Dodgers scored when Tim Federowicz doubled and Hanley Ramirez drove him home with a single in the third, and again on Luis Cruz‘s solo home run to left field in the sixth.

Here’s what we learned:

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