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.

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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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