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).
Continue reading

Hanley Ramirez’s stubbornness is on track to relegate Miguel Rojas to the bench.

Hanley Ramirez

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


Hanley Ramirez turned a few heads Saturday by taking ground balls at third base before the Dodgers’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

That was the point, manager Don Mattingly said Sunday.

“I think he likes making everybody raise their eyes and making me answer questions,” Mattingly said.

Question: will Ramirez be a third baseman once he’s activated from the 15-day disabled list?

“No real talk of that,” Mattingly said.

Continue reading

Adjustments, playing time contributed to three-hit game for Dodgers’ Miguel Rojas.

Miguel Rojas

Miguel Rojas had a career-high three hits Sunday in Milwaukee. (Keith Birmingham/Staff photo)

I didn’t mention it in last night’s game story, but Miguel Rojas‘ three hits were a career-high.

Rojas said after the game that two things are paying off for him right now. One is an increase in playing time since Hanley Ramirez suffered his latest injury, a strained right oblique muscle.

Another is some recent work in the batting cage that led Rojas to make some adjustments at the plate.

Specifically?

“Trying to swing at strikes,” he said. “It’s not mechanical. It’s all mental.”
Continue reading

Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez sits for middle game in Milwaukee. Update.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez walked in his only plate appearance Friday in Milwaukee. (Getty Images)

MILWAUKEE — Hanley Ramirez is not in the lineup one day after pain in his right side forced him to leave the Dodgers’ game against the Brewers. Ramirez walked in his only plate appearance Friday in the Dodgers’ 9-3 loss.

Ramirez was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today. The results haven’t been made available yet. Ramirez hasn’t been placed on the disabled list this season.

Update (2:45 p.m.): Ramirez was scheduled to undergo the MRI around 2 p.m. PST, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, for an injury involving his oblique muscle. “They’re pretty serious as far as I’m concerned,” Mattingly said, “because they don’t allow you to do anything. That’s the area. The MRI will give us a good indication of severity, swelling, bleeding or any of that stuff.”

Miguel Rojas is starting at shortstop in Ramirez’s place. The full lineup:

Dee Gordon 2B
Yasiel Puig CF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Matt Kemp RF
Carl Crawford LF
Juan Uribe 3B
A.J. Ellis C
Miguel Rojas SS
Zack Greinke P

Hanley Ramirez (“right side tightness”) leaves game after one plate appearance.

MILWAUKEE — Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez batted only once Friday against Brewers starter Kyle Lohse. He swung and missed twice, took four balls out of the strike zone, and took his free pass to first base. He didn’t have to slide, didn’t have to move up a base, and didn’t score. Just like that, his day was over.

Miguel Rojas took Ramirez’s place at shortstop to begin the bottom of the first inning.

According to the Dodgers, Ramirez left the game with “right side tightness” and is day-to-day.

Ramirez hasn’t spent any time on the disabled list this season, but he’s been sidelined repeatedly with shoulder ailments and missed a total of 17 games. The circumstances of this road trip aren’t helping much. The Dodgers flew overnight from LAX to Milwaukee. At least one player (not Ramirez) was complaining of neck stiffness before the game.

More updates as we get ‘em.

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.
Continue reading

Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier rest with injuries.

Scott Van Slyke is in center field and Miguel Rojas is starting at shortstop against rookie right-hander Jesse Hahn when the Dodgers host the San Diego Padres tonight at Dodger Stadium.

Though manager Don Mattingly isn’t exactly hoping this becomes a trend, it might be too late. Van Slyke has started three of the last five games in center field over Andre Ethier, and four of the last eight. Typically the starter against a left-handed opponent, Van Slyke is starting for the second straight night against a righty.

“In general Dre just seems like he doesn’t have the same energy. He hasn’t felt good body-wise,” Mattingly said. “There’s lots of little things. One thing usually is the building block to another and to compensate, you’ve got another issue. It’s really just trying to get that stuff kind of resolved.”

As for shortstop Hanley Ramirez, he’s started only one of the last five games at shortstop because of inflammation in the A/C joint in his right shoulder. He’s only played one complete game at shortstop since June 16 — he was the Dodgers’ designated hitter once in Kansas City and twice in Detroit in the meantime.

Continue reading

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.

Dodgers bolster infield depth, claim Carlos Triunfel off waivers.

Carlos Triunfel

The Dodgers claimed Carlos Triunfel off waivers and assigned him to Triple-A Albuquerque. (Tacoma News-Tribune)

The Dodgers claimed infielder Carlos Triunfel on outright waivers from Seattle, added him to the 40-man roster and optioned him to Triple-A Albuquerque.

The 24-year-old Triunfel spent 2013 splitting time between the Mariners and Triple-A Tacoma in Seattle’s organization. An athletic infielder with a strong arm, Triunfel has shown the versatility to play shortstop, second base and third base and has played all three positions in both the Majors and minors.

In his seven minor league seasons, Triunfel has posted a .276 batting average. Last year at Triple-A Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, he batted .282/.328/.394 with 30 extra-base hits among 108 total.

In 27 major-league games, all with the Mariners, Triunfel has a 11 hits in 66 at-bats (.167). He also batted .167 in eight Cactus League games.

The Dodgers now have 40 players on their 40-man roster.
Continue reading

Spring training ends poorly for Dodgers’ Dan Haren.

Miguel Rojas

Miguel Rojas, who grounded out on this at-bat Saturday, finished spring training with a .387 batting average, second on the Dodgers to Justin Turner’s .389. (Associated Press photo)

ANAHEIM — Dan Haren‘s final spring tuneup was one to forget.

The right-hander allowed all six Angels runs in a 6-2 Dodgers loss before an announced crowd of 43,553 at Angel Stadium on Saturday.

The Dodgers resume regular-season play tomorrow in San Diego. It’s the Padres’ first game of the season. Opening Day for most major-league teams is Monday.

Last weekend, the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks twice in Sydney, Australia and have a regular-season record of 2-0. They came back and lost two of three to the Angels, officially finishing spring training with a 7-12-5 record.

Haren didn’t go to Australia. Since the Dodgers only needed two starting pitchers (and kept Paul Maholm for insurance), Haren stayed behind and pitched minor-league spring training games in Arizona.

The playing environment changed dramatically Saturday. Haren went from games with no official statistics and no names on the back of players’ jerseys to a sold-out stadium. The change seemed to have caught him by surprise.

The Angels scored two runs in the first inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by Albert Pujols and David Freese. In the second inning, Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun hit back-to-back home runs.

Trout’s home run came on a hanging split-fingered fastball, Haren said, while almost all of the Angels’ other hard hits came off his cut fastball. Haren allowed six hits in two innings.

“It was just kind of getting it a little bit flat,” Haren said of his cutter. “I have to have the mindset of driving it down and away to a righty rather than just leaving it out there.

“I’m going to throw quite a few of them in the bullpen. I need to get that sharpened up. My other pitches were actually OK. I struggled with it last start too in the minor leagues. I threw a bunch in the last inning of that game.”

Haren starts Wednesday in San Diego, the finale of the three-game series with the Padres. His final major-league spring training ERA: 6.00.

“It’s the last one that doesn’t count,” Haren said. “No use thinking about it too much. I got some work in. It’s been a while since I felt like I’ve been on a mound, it seems like, at least in a real game. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I feel OK. Just flush it down and move on to the next one.”

Said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly: “I’m glad it’s tonight and not Wednesday.”

The Dodgers scored both of their runs in the third inning on a two-run double by Chone Figgins. Most of the starters played only two defensive innings.

It was a good day for the Dodgers’ bullpen. Against almost entirely major-league competition, they combined for six scoreless innings: One by Brandon League, three by Matt Magill and two by Red Patterson.

The box score is here.

A few more notes:
Continue reading