Daily Distractions: Farewell, Shawn Tolleson.

Shawn Tolleson

Shawn Tolleson, who was claimed off waivers Tuesday by the Texas Rangers, faced two batters in 2013 and walked both. (Getty Images)

At some point the Dodgers will add to their major-league roster this off-season.

For now at least, the Dodgers continue to clear room. Reliever Shawn Tolleson was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, leaving the 40-man roster at 31.

Tolleson’s 2013 season was sabotaged by injury. He appeared in one game in April, but couldn’t sleep following the game because of an intense pain his back. Later that month, he had season-ending back surgery.

The Dodgers had to replace his innings somehow, and right-handers Chris Withrow, Jose Dominguez and, later, Carlos Marmol and Brian Wilson, all held down the fort. That was apparently enough for the Dodgers to feel comfortable about cutting ties with the 25-year-old, who not long ago was chosen as the organization’s minor-league pitcher of the year.

In 40 games in 2012, Tolleson went 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA, striking out 39 batters in 37 ⅔ innings.

Some bullet points for a Transgender Day of Remembrance:
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Daily Distractions: When baseball imitates reality television (accidentally or otherwise).

Kenley Jansen

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen jumps into the Chase Field pool after Thursday’s win. (Associated Press photo)

Sports is the original reality television. Nothing like a little drama to spice it up, right?

Forget “Poolgate.” Call the controversy over the Dodgers’ postgame celebration “The Real World: Phoenix” (and hope MTV doesn’t keep a copyright attorney on retainer).

Apparently, prior to the series, the Arizona Diamondbacks asked the Dodgers to confine their clinching celebration to the visitors’ clubhouse. They even stationed some security guards on the field Thursday to make sure the Dodgers didn’t do anything crazy:

As it always does, human nature set in. When someone is ordered not to do something, he finds his best way around it. Ever pull into the carpool lane while stuck in traffic and driving alone? Ever sneak a peak at your phone at a red light, look for a cop, then quickly put the phone away? (There was a case of crude rebellion on Project Runway last night. Ah, reality TV — the reality is, I was ironing before you got into the room!)

The Dodgers ran across the field and into the pool.

The incident has spawned some lengthy prose about celebrations and their place in baseball.

Even Arizona senator John McCain chimed in today:

Again, this wasn’t about a celebration.

Hall, now the Diamondbacks’ president, is the Dodgers’ former director of public relations. He may have discretely asked the Dodgers not to go back onto the field to celebrate, but then how did Scully find out and mention this on the broadcast? That got the fans involved, too. Pretty brilliant way to incite a rivalry, accidentally or otherwise.

Seeing the drama go viral, it’s not hard to imagine Hall sipping on some champagne himself this morning.

Some bullet points to get you through the weekend:
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Mental approach ought to determine Edinson Volquez’s success with the Dodgers.

Edinson Volquez

Edinson Volquez was 9-10 with a 6.01 earned-run average this season before he was placed on release waivers Wednesday by the San Diego Padres. (Getty Images)

Edinson Volquez was laughing Friday. Maybe it was nervous laughter; reading someone’s emotions can be difficult the first time you meet them.

The right-handed pitcher, who officially signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers on Friday, was talking about his last start seven days ago against the Chicago Cubs.

“Every pitch I threw, they hit them,” Volquez said. “I was surprised because I have good numbers against the Cubs. I saw my record agianst them, it was 5-0, 2-point ERA [actually 2.98]. I had a lot of confidence. Then in the first inning it was like six runs, five (earned) runs, in the first inning. It’s not good.”

Cue the awkward laughter.
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Two days after benching, Yasiel Puig is batting leadoff for the Dodgers against the San Diego Padres.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig was benched midway through the Dodgers’ last game against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)


Yasiel Puig‘s benching lasted half a game.

Puig is back at the top of the Dodgers’ batting order today with the San Diego Padres in town. The rest of the lineup has a very normal look to it with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound.

There will be no (re-)rematch between the Dodgers and Carlos Quentin. The 31-year-old outfielder, who broke Zack Greinke‘s clavicle in April, is having season-ending knee surgery. Greinke is scheduled to start Sunday.

San Diego is also giving Chase Headley a second consecutive game off. The third baseman came down with back spasms Tuesday in Phoenix and hasn’t played since. No word yet whether Headley, who hit 31 home runs last season but has been stuck on eight since July 27, will be available off the bench.

Left-hander Eric Stults, whose first eight seasons were spent in the Dodgers’ organization, starts for San Diego. He’s 1-2 with a 3.75 earned-run average in four career starts against his former team.

Leave your jackets at home — it’s 90 degrees with a slight breeze.

Here are both teams’ lineups for the 7 p.m. game:
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Daily Distractions: The San Diego Padres will reportedly lose their shortstop, and other Biogenesis news.

Everth Cabrera

Everth Cabrera is facing a 50-game suspension with 50 games left on the San Diego Padres’ schedule. (Getty Images)


There are no Dodgers major or minor-leaguers on a composite list of Biogenesis names compiled this morning by Deadspin.com, but the San Diego Padres are about to lose their everyday leadoff hitter and shortstop, Everth Cabrera.

That was perhaps the biggest takeaway for the Dodgers in the fallout from the shuttered drug clinic. Cabrera is one of 12 players who will reportedly accept 50-game suspensions today. New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is expected to appeal his proposed suspension.

Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal (along with A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon and Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera) has already served a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test and will not be suspended again. Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun accepted a 65-game suspension in July.

Cabrera and the Padres have six games left against the Dodgers this year. Of course, San Diego is 10 games out of first place in the National League West and going nowhere fast. So you can count your lucky stars that no Dodgers are among the Biogenesis dirty dozen, move along, and pay attention to that little 14-game road winning streak the Dodgers are putting together.

About that:

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Postgame thoughts: San Diego 7, Dodgers 2.

Matt Kemp Don Mattingly

Matt Kemp was benched to start Wednesday’s game yet still came to bat with a total of six runners on base against the San Diego Padres. He drove in one. (Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

“We had 10 hits today?” Adrian Gonzalez asked in an otherwise silent Dodgers clubhouse.

Yes.

“Same old story,” he said.

The Dodgers are no mystery after 15 games. They are putting runners on base (their .337 on-base percentage is fourth in the National League) but not driving them in (their 39 runs scored are second-fewest in the NL, ahead of only the Miami Marlins). They’ve won seven games because their pitching staff is generally excellent. When it’s not excellent, as was the case Wednesday with Clayton Kershaw, they’re in trouble.

Maybe one person at the ballpark knew the Dodgers were in trouble from the outset Wednesday, and that was Kershaw himself.

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Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke is trying to learn from his mistakes — three of them, to be exact.

Zack Greinke Carlos Quentin

Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said he’s watched replays of last Thurdsay’s brawl in San Diego. (Associated Press)

Say this much for Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke: He’s trying to learn from his mistakes.

Mistake one: October 11, 2011. On the eve of the National League Championship Series between Greinke’s Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals, Greinke was asked about Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter.

“They think his presence, his attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude,” Greinke told reporters in Milwaukee. “And then he yells at people. He just stares people down and stuff. And most pitchers just don’t do that. And when guys do, I guess some hitters get mad. Some hitters do it to pitchers. But when you do that some people will get mad.

“There’s other pitchers in the league that do it, but, I don’t know,” Greinke said, “a lot of guys on our team don’t like Carpenter.”

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Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp gets his first day off of 2013, and he doesn’t like it.

Matt Kemp“I don’t like days off,” Matt Kemp said as he bounded up the dugout steps before his first off-day of 2013, on his way to take batting practice for the second time Wednesday.

The last time he took a day off was Sept. 9, 2012. Kemp was nursing a then-undisclosed torn labrum in his left shoulder. This time, the problems aren’t physical. Kemp is batting .185 with no home runs and just four RBIs through the season’s first 14 games.

“Just body language, more than anything,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Being around the game, you see guys struggle. Sometimes it helps to sit back and watch a game where you don’t have to be out there. … It gives him another day tomorrow, almost three days with the night game (Friday) in Baltimore. I wanted to give him 10 to 12 days off over the course of 162 anyway.”

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Daily Distractions: Will a day off cure what ails the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp?

Matt Kemp gameday view

(courtesy of MLB.com)

By the looks of things, the Dodgers ought to worry less about Matt Kemp‘s mechanics at the plate than what’s going on inside his head.

That image, courtesy of MLB.com’s Gameday tool, shows Kemp’s final at-bat Tuesday against Jason Marquis. Appropriate to the picture, the bat did not leave his shoulders. Kemp took an 83-mph slider, an 88-mph sinker, and an 82-mph changeup for strikes, ending the sixth inning with a whimper.

I didn’t have a chance to speak to Kemp after the game, but Kemp typically isn’t introspective in the midst of a slump. Most hitters aren’t; if they could explain why they were slumping, they would be hitting the ball better. Based on that sixth-inning at-bat, it would be tempting to pin Kemp’s problem on poor pitch selection. It might not be that simple.

Here’s how Marquis struck out Kemp to end the third inning:

Matt  Kemp

In this at-bat, Kemp’s pitch selection is pretty good. He took two pitches low and out of the zone with two strikes (#3 and #4), then swung a pitch (#5) that might have been a strike — it was about an inch higher than the pitch before. Yet Kemp missed. You have to wonder what he was thinking on the second pitch of this at-bat, a swing-and-miss on a slider over the fattest part of the plate.

Kemp saw two sinkers from Marquis in his first at-bat. The pitch chart isn’t integral here — Kemp took a ball 10 inches off the plate then flew out to right field on the second pitch, which was in the strike zone. Both pitches were sinkers.

By the time the sixth inning rolled around, Kemp should have figured he wasn’t getting any fastballs from Marquis. Yet he took three breaking balls in the strike zone without swinging the bat.

Don Mattingly said after the game that he’s considering giving Kemp a day off, even though the Dodgers have an off-day Thursday. The manager seems to believe Kemp’s slump (he’s hitting .185) begins and ends between his ears.

“Matt’s pressing pretty good,” Mattingly said. “Tonight he seemed really frustrated. The game didn’t help. It’s one of those games that you jump behind early, nothing kind of seems to go your way, and he seemed to be — obviously it didn’t go very good for him.”

From struggling superstars to …

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Despite appealing suspension, San Diego Padres’ Carlos Quentin might miss Dodgers series.

Major League Baseball is expediting Carlos Quentin’s appeal of his eight-game suspension and could rule on the matter today, according a report on the U-T San Diego website.

Writes Padres beat writer Bill Center:

If the appeal process isn’t completed there is also a strong chance that the left fielder will drop the appeal and begin his suspension Monday.

“Major League Baseball is very aware of the situation,” a source in the league office said Saturday. “I think everyone would like to see a little time between the incident and Quentin’s next appearance at Dodger Stadium.”

The Padres visit the Dodgers for three games beginning tomorrow.

Update (11:30 a.m.): Quentin is not in the Padres’ lineup today, will drop his appeal and begin the eight-game suspension immediately. That means he won’t play in the series at Dodger Stadium. The Padres’ next series in Los Angeles is June 3-5.

Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke broke his left collarbone in a benches-clearing brawl when Quentin charged the mound and tackled Greinke to the ground Thursday night at Petco Park. Greinke is expected to miss the next two months after undergoing successful surgery Saturday. Jerry Hairston Jr. was also suspended one game and fined for his role in the brawl, and has appealed the ruling with MLB.