Hanley Ramirez returns, Dodgers option Erisbel Arruebarrena to Rancho Cucamonga.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez spent the minimum time on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle. (Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez was in the Dodgers’ starting lineup Sunday for the first time since he strained a right oblique muscle August 8 in Milwaukee. Ramirez was batting fourth then, and has batted either second, third or fourth every time he’s been in the lineup this year.

Why is he batting fifth today?

“I wanted to let Hanley get back into the flow,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s been a little bit of time. He doesn’t really have a history with (New York Mets starter Bartolo) Colon. Matt’s got a little history.”

Dee Gordon is leading off, Yasiel Puig is batting second, Adrian Gonzalez is third and Matt Kemp fourth — the same order Mattingly has used in 10 of the 13 games since Ramirez was placed on the disabled list.

“We’re not really going to try to be that cautious,” Mattingly said. “We’re going to play him. We’re not going to run him into the ground. If he’s not feeling good we’re going to give him a break. With the days off coming, just kind of play it by ear. Play one, got one off. Play two, got another one off. Then we’ve got six in a row. Unless we’ve got something going on, he should be fairly rested.”
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Erisbel Arruebarrena gives Dodgers a blank slate at the plate.

The Dodgers recalled Erisbel Arruebarrena from the Rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers, where he had been rehabbing. Evidently, the rookie shortstop’s sore shoulder was the only reason he wasn’t recalled sooner. Carlos Triunfel, who got the call-up Saturday when Juan Uribe was placed on the 15-day disabled list, was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Arruebarrena has played some second base and third base this season for Triple-A Albuquerque. His job with the Dodgers will be at shortstop, where he saw action in eight games in May and June, making no errors and batting .313 (5 for 16).
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After brawl, Erisbel Arruebarrena assigned to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Erisbel Arruebarrena‘s rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque came to a violent end Saturday night, when the 24-year-old infielder incited a massive brawl in the Isotopes’ game against the Reno Aces.

Sunday, the Dodgers activated Arruebarrena from the 15-day disabled list and re-assigned him to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. The timing of the move, one day after the brawl, suggests this is more than a coincidence.

Arruebarrena had not been performing badly at Albuquerque. He hit his first Triple-A home run Saturday — his slow home run trot might have provoked Reno to begin with — and was batting .351/.410/.486. Albuquerque is playing Reno again tonight and Monday.

A source with knowledge of the situation said there is no precedent for a player on a major-league rehabilitation assignment being suspended by the Pacific Coast League. Nonetheless, the league is reviewing the incident and is expected to discipline Arruebarrena. It’s unclear whether or not he would be required to serve his suspension while playing in a different league.

Albuquerque Isotopes brawl with Reno Aces [video].

The Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, were involved in a massive brawl this evening during their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks-affiliated Reno Aces. Ten players were ejected:

Ben Ross of KOLO-TV in Reno provided the video and the play-by-play on Twitter:

Ross deleted the video, but we have a couple more videos below:
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With Miguel Rojas starting at shortstop again, taking stock of the Dodgers’ backup infielders.

Miguel Rojas

Miguel Rojas is hitting .232 in his first 30 major-league games. (Associated Press photo)

It’s reached the juncture, again, where Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez is being propped up by shoulder injections. The Dodgers seem to think that last night’s injection hit the correct spot. Time will tell.

On Friday, for the fourth time in the last five games, Ramirez wasn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup. Miguel Rojas was. Ramirez’s health seems to be stuck on day-to-day, so it’s worth examining where his backups stand in what’s become a competition for fairly regular playing time.
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Dodgers add Miguel Rojas, demote Erisbel Arruebarrena, transfer Chris Withrow to 60-day DL.

The Dodgers selected the contract of infielder Miguel Rojas from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena to Albuquerque, while transferring right-hander Chris Withrow to the 60-day disabled list.

Rojas’s first game will mark his Major League debut.

The 25-year-old infielder was batting .302 with nine doubles, four homers and 13 RBI in 51 games at second base (eight games), third base (16 games) and shortstop (23 games) for the Isotopes. Rojas has been on a power surge of late, with all four of his home runs coming during his active eight-game hitting streak (.412, 14-for-34) that preceded his call-up.

Withrow had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Tuesday.

Arruebarrena appeared in six games for the Dodgers after the club selected his contract on May 21, batting .308 (4-for-13) with a double and one RBI.

EA: It’s in the game.

The Dodgers recalled Erisbel Arruebarrena from Double-A Chattanooga and placed Juan Uribe on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday.

Arruebarrena, a 24-year-old defensive dynamo at shortstop, has a .324/.359/.432 slash line since May 9 but was batting .136/.188/.220 prior to that. Here was a Southern League scout’s evaluation of Arruebarrena prior to his bump in performance.

Arruebarrena isn’t in the starting lineup for the Dodgers’ game against the New York Mets.

Daily Distractions: A scout’s take on Erisbel Arruebarrena.

Erisbel Arruebarrena

Infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena is batting .136 for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate.

Erisbel Arruebarrena provided a nice distraction during spring training. Reporters covering the Dodgers spent countless minutes rolling our “R”s, trying to pronounce Arruebarrena, figuring out how many “U”s were in the name, and mostly waiting for the 24-year-old shortstop to arrive in the U.S.

When he finally did get his visa and arrive in spring training on March 13, the Cuban shortstop was shuffled to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp. Then the major-leaguers left for Australia. Hardly anyone got to see the kid play baseball.

Nearly two months later there he is, taking up a space on the 40-man roster and $25 million of the Dodgers’ payroll over the next five years. Ever since Arruebarrena reported to Double-A Chattanooga, he’s proceeded to bat .136/.188/.220, which hardly seems to justify a $25 million contract. Was this signing a mistake? Was rolling my “R”s one big time-killerrrrrr?

A pro scout who recently watched Arruebarrena in the Southern League chimed in with this report.

I’d say Erisbel’s current offensive numbers are an accurate representation of his abilities – he has a long/loopy swing, almost like a golf swing that struggles to make contact with any type of pitch. He has serious recognition problems vs. AA-effective secondary stuff, turning his back early & often vs. almost all curveballs/sliders. Those things combined lead to rare contact on mistake fastballs only, or if a pitcher makes a bad decision to throw him the same loopy curveball three times in a row.

That said, him at SS is sometimes awesome to watch; way above instincts, really easy/super-quick receive-and-throw actions deep in the hole or going up the middle with a really good feel to complete very tough plays. He did flash a couple mental errors, like dropping a popup or ball bouncing off his glove with the infield in. Even with the bat how it is now I’d like to have him in my organization, because his floor is first-division middle infield-utility. As he gets comfortable over the next couple seasons in the US I think his feel/baseball IQ will improve a bit/less mental errors on both sides. I see him as a mid-.500s OPS guy but with major league top-5 shortstop defense.

Make of that what you will. It’s the most up-to-date scouting report we have on a player we know little about, perhaps the least known member of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

Some bullet points for a Europe Day:
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Daily Distractions: Is Brandon League’s ‘whipping boy’ status deserved?

Brandon League

Brandon League has not allowed a run in five of seven appearances this season, including his last three straight. (Associated Press photo)

When Brandon League‘s name was announced over the Dodger Stadium public-address system in the sixth inning Monday, the reaction was best described as a mixture of boos and cheers and indifference.

When League’s name was brought up in Don Mattingly‘s postgame press conference, the reaction was different: “We feel like he’s been pretty good.”

It’s time to call BS on someone here.

A quick look at League’s 2014 resume:

That’s not terribly difficult to defend as “pretty good.” By comparison, this poor chap faced nine more batters and got two more outs, and doesn’t get booed by his fans:

The second gamelog belongs to Jamey Wright, in case you were wondering. We’re dealing with small sample sizes, but here goes: Wright has the superior ERA (3.38 compared to League’s 3.60). League has the better FIP (2.84 compared to 4.35), but FIP doesn’t show up on the Dodger Stadium display boards. Maybe that explains the boos?

Here’s Mattingly, continued: “I know he got the loss in that game in San Francisco. He’s been throwing the ball pretty good. It’s been negative since last year because he has a little bit of a rough spring. It’s been negative but he’s thrown the ball well. We want to stay realistic. He’s thrown the ball good. He’s given us some good innings. He’s kept games where they should be, given us chances, so he’s doing his job.”

What Mattingly didn’t mention is that League’s $22.5 million, three-year contract makes League the Dodgers’ best-paid relief pitcher. That’s closer money for a sixth-inning reliever. League is certainly paid better than Wright’s $1.8 million deal, which is why Wright (or a young pitcher with contract options like Chris Withrow, Jose Dominguez or Paco Rodriguez) will hardly ever get booed. Their contracts are more readily expendable. League’s contract, a seagull bordering on an albatross, is not. For fans, that comes with certain expectations.

Ever since League lost the closer’s job and finished the 2013 season with a 5.30 ERA, it seems like there’s been no turning back. He is the whipping boy. Juan Uribe was in a similar position in 2011 and 2012, but was able to turn it around.

Maybe League can turn his reputation around too. Apparently it’ll take more than seven “pretty good” appearances.

Speaking of which, Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area had a pretty good take on the Giants’ “whipping boys.” Does race have something to do with it?

Some bullet points for an Earth Day:
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Selection Sunday: Dodgers add Justin Turner to 40-man roster, place Onelki Garcia on 60-day disabled list.

Justin Turner

Justin Turner hit .280/.319/.385 last season for the New York Mets. (Getty Images)


The Dodgers selected the contract of Justin Turner on Sunday, adding him to their 40-man roster in advance of their flight to Sydney, Australia tonight. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers placed Onelki Garcia on the 60-day disabled list.

Turner signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers with an invitation to spring training and subsequently batted .333/.432/.467 while seeing time at all four infield positions.

Garcia hasn’t pitched at all since undergoing surgery on his left elbow in November. A 60-day disabled list stay means that Garcia won’t appear in a game before May 27. He was a longshot to make the major-league roster if healthy, and will likely be sent to the minors once he’s ready.

In a pair of expected moves, catcher Miguel Olivo was reassigned to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp one day after requesting his release, and infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena was optioned to the minor-league camp.

The moves help narrow down the list of 30 players the Dodgers are bringing to Sydney, Australia.