Paco Rodriguez says arm feels “great,” but seeks consistency amid struggles.

Paco Rodriguez

Dodgers pitcher Paco Rodriguez said he works on his mechanics every day. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)

The Dodgers added left-handed pitcher Onelki Garcia to their major-league roster Wednesday, in part to give southpaws Paco Rodriguez and J.P. Howell a breather out of the bullpen every now and then.

Coincidentally, Rodriguez and Garcia were practically inseparable in right field Wednesday afternoon while the Dodgers took batting practice. Rodriguez said he was showing Garcia the ropes, so to speak. More details of the conversation between the two 2012 draft picks will appear in tomorrow’s editions.

As for his own left arm, Rodriguez said it’s doing “great.” The numbers show otherwise: In his last five appearances, Rodriguez has faced 16 batters, allowed five hits and walked four (a .563 opponents’ OBP).

One theory for Rodriguez’s struggles is that he’s a victim of overuse. The 22-year-old is tied for the team lead in appearances (70) with Ronald Belisario. But his 51 innings pitched are less than the 88 ⅓ he pitched between college and the professional ranks — including the final 6 ⅔ for the Dodgers — in 66 games in 2012. He insists that the extra four appearances this year, not including an additional 12 spring-training games, haven’t caught up to him.

“My body’s been feeling fine, I’m just a little inconsistent,” Rodriguez said. “My mechanics could be wrong.”

Rodriguez has an unusual delivery — he pauses with the ball behind his head before whipping his arm around — which has been attributed to much of his success. Is it a problem now? That’s been a point of daily discussion with Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.

“We just talk about it. … It’s just a matter of being consistent and bringing it every day,” Rodriguez said.

“At the end of the year everybody’s tired. It’s all about mindset, how you approach everything.”

Dodgers add Onelki Garcia to 40-man roster for stretch drive.

Onelki Garcia

Onelki Garcia had a 3.72 ERA in 10 appearances for Triple-A Albuquerque this season. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

The Dodgers added left-handed pitcher Onelki Garcia to their 40-man roster Wednesday and transferred Shawn Tolleson to the 60-day disabled list. Garcia is uniform for tonight’s game and will become the first player in franchise history to wear number 98 when he makes his major-league debut.
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Daily Distractions: The significance of 2-2.

Adrian Gonzalez

The Dodgers are 38-8 in their last 46 games and need to win two of their next four to join an elite group of major-league teams. (Associated Press)

In his seminal 2000 book “The Tipping Point,” author Malcolm Gladwell identified a handful of small phenomena that predict wider epidemics. The Dodgers’ next four games could be one of those small phenomena.

If that seems a bit arbitrary, it is. Play along for a minute anyway.

On SportsIllustrated.com, Jay Jaffe tracked down the 16 major-league teams that have won at least 40 games over a 50-game stretch. Of the 16 teams, 15 reached the postseason and 13 reached the World Series. Two of the 40-win teams reached the World Series after divisional expansion in 1969: the 1998 Yankees and the 1975 Reds. (The 1977 Royals and 2001 Mariners did not.)

Now I don’t know if the 1912 New York Giants, whose 43-7 mark set the 50-game standard, could survive three rounds of playoffs and still win a World Series. I also don’t know if 50 games is the exact Tipping Point for identifying World Series-bound teams, the sample size that separates the champions from the streaky.

What I do know is that if the Dodgers go 2-2 in their next four games, they will do something achieved by only 16 other teams in major-league history — 81.3 percent of whom have gone on to reach the World Series. I like those odds.

Some links for a national left-hander’s day (which might favor Hyun-Jin Ryu tonight against Matt Harvey):
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Daily Distractions: Dodgers face an important roster decision.

Mark Ellis, Juan Uribe, Justin Sellers

One of these men might not be on the active roster by game time tomorrow. (Associated Press photo)

Expect the Dodgers to shed an infielder for this weekend’s series against the San Francisco Giants.

Before we assume that Mark Ellis will be placed on the 15-day disabled list to make room for Clayton Kershaw, who must be activated from the bereavement list before he starts Friday, consider Ellis’ career numbers against the San Francisco Giants’ scheduled starters.

He’s never had much success against Friday’s starter, Barry Zito (.217/.280/.304 in 23 at-bats). Yet Ellis has had no problems with Saturday’s starter, Ryan Vogelsong (.313/.313/.375 in 16 ABs) or Sunday’s starter, Matt Cain (.333/.385/.417 in 24 ABs).

So if Ellis’ right quadriceps is healthy tomorrow — he wasn’t far off Wednesday — it’s entirely possible that the Dodgers would use him Saturday and Sunday and keep him on the bench as a late-innings option Friday.

If that’s the case, look for the Dodgers to option Justin Sellers to Triple-A Albuquerque. Sellers is hitting .200/.278/.262. His slugging percentage is the fifth-lowest in the National League, just ahead of Juan Pierre (.253). The Dodgers don’t need a slugger at every position, but they’ve got an extra infielder if Ellis and Hanley Ramirez are both healthy. Sellers’ numbers could leave him the odd man out.

A less likely move, if the Dodgers are so inclined, would be to designate Luis Cruz for assignment. Cruz hasn’t hit all season (.088/.117/.088), allowing Juan Uribe to surpass him on the depth chart at third base. While Sellers still has an option year to burn, Cruz does not, so this would be the most convenient means for removing Cruz from the active roster.

It’s a rash move, sure. By designating Cruz for assignment, the Dodgers would risk losing him altogether when they could just as easily keep Sellers or Ellis in the organization. But it’s an option, and something to keep an eye on in the next 24 hours.

Some bullet points for a Thursday morning:

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Devising the Dodgers’ composite prospect rankings.

Before the famous economist/statistician/sabrmetrician Nate Silver was chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009, he crunched baseball stats for BaseballProspectus.com. He found more success in the political arena by taking an old idea and adapting it to a new subject.

Specifically, Silver aggregated just about every pre-election poll he could find, giving each one more or less weight through a formula he devised, to come up with a reliably accurate “prediction model” for the major U.S. elections.

With a nod to Nate, I decided to aggregate four recently released lists ranking the Dodgers prospects — Baseball America, FanGraphs, Minor League Ball and Baseball Prospectus — into a composite ranking. There’s no weighting formula and this is no prediction model. (Besides, success in baseball can’t be defined objectively; if it were, there wouldn’t be so many damn stats). So while Yasiel Puig is listed first in the table you’re about to read, I can’t tell you what that actually means for his long-term baseball success. I can only promise he will not be elected president of the United States.

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Daily Distractions: New Dodgers Dream Foundation field; 184-year-old baseball card; A Yu Darvish museum?

Aaron Sele

Aaron Sele’s career numbers as a Dodger: 28 games, 15 starts, 8-6 record, 4.53 ERA. More Hall of Fame votes than Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 6.64 as a Dodger). Makes sense to me. (AP)

Usually I dish out distractions in the morning. Unfortunately before noon today I was way too distracted by the guy (or gal) who gave a Hall of Fame vote to Aaron Sele.

The Dodgers Dream Foundation, in partnership with the LA84 Foundation and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, announced that they will dedicate a new Dodgers Dreamfield in Reseda Park Saturday. The field is located at 18411 Victory Blvd, Los Angeles and the dedication will begin at 10 a.m. Dodgers prospects Joc Pederson, Onelki Garcia and Matt Magill will be there, along with team president Stan Kasten, broadcaster Charley Steiner and alumni Al “The Bull” Ferrara, Lee Lacy, Ramon Martinez, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Yeager.

This will be the 24th “Dreamfield” the team has dedicated since 1998.

On to the links …

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On the Farm: Onelki Garcia; Tyler Ogle; two seasons end.

Four of the Dodgers’ top five minor-league affiliates saw their regular seasons end Monday.

First, a couple noteworthy individual performances:

Onelki Garcia made his professional debut for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and struck out four of the six batters he faced in two perfect innings. The left-hander was the Dodgers’ third-round draft pick in June, but had not pitched since because of a delay in obtaining his work visa. Garcia defected from Cuba in 2010.

Tyler Ogle went 3-for-3 with a walk and four RBIs in his debut game at Triple-A Albuquerque. The catcher, a ninth-round draft pick in 2011 out of the University of Oklahoma, made stops in the Arizona League (.483 in 16 games), Midwest League (.210 in 18 games for Great Lakes), Pioneer League (.258 in 8 games for Ogden) before coming to Albuquerque when Tim Federowicz was called up by the Dodgers.

Leon Landry, a former Dodgers outfield prospect now playing for the Single-A High Desert Mavericks, clinched the California League batting title (.341). Landry was sent to the Seattle Mariners along with prospect Logan Bawcom in the trade that brought Brandon League to the Dodgers.
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