Jun 04

Dodgers call up Ely, De Jesus

Rafael Furcal and Jon Garland are officially on the disabled list, replaced for the time being by Ivan De Jesus Jr. and John Ely. Vicente Padilla has had a setback, which is why he’s not being activated. Juan Uribe and Blake Hawksworth could displace the Ely and De Jesus within days, however.

Ely will pitch out of the bullpen – Rubby De La Rosa is still scheduled to start Tuesday.

Jun 03

Garland injury opens path for De La Rosa to starting rotation

We’re still waiting for the official word, but Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com is reporting that Jon Garland will be placed on the disabled list (for the second time this season) with a right shoulder problem.

The immediate roster replacement would be Vicente Padilla, who will be activated from the disabled list, but more significantly, it could mean Rubby De La Rosa will make his first major-league start Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Update: Whatever’s going to happen is apparently not happening before today’s game, according to this note from the Dodgers.

Jun 01

Streaks on the line

The Dodgers are going for their first four-game winning streak since August 24-27.

The last time the Dodgers scored at least seven runs in four consecutive games was May 24-27, 2009. The last three of those games were in Colorado.

Finally, Matt Kemp has the longest active consecutive games played streak in baseball and is almost 1/10th of the way to Cal Ripken Jr.’s all-time record of 2,632. Kemp is on target to pass Ripken in late September 2025, on or about his 41st birthday. Get your tickets now!

May 31

Don’t look in the mirror – you’ll break it

To make the Dodgers’ end-of-May payroll, Frank McCourt once again borrowed from Peter Future to pay Paul Present. From Molly Knight of ESPN The Magazine:

… McCourt was able to meet the team’s payroll Tuesday with cash advances drawn on the team’s corporate sponsorship deals, according to three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Since McCourt has been unable to secure traditional loans to fund the cash-strapped Dodgers, front office executives in charge of revenue were charged with finding more creative ways to help float the troubled franchise for two more weeks.

Current team sponsors were contacted and offered discounts on their annual bills and luxury box stadium seats in exchange for cash up front, according to two sources. It is not known which sponsors took the offer, or the depth of discount they were given.

McCourt is still searching for the funding to make the team’s next payroll on June 15, according to two people with knowledge of the Dodgers finances who were not authorized to speak publicly. Should the beleaguered owner fail to make payroll, Major League Baseball would cover it for him and likely formally seize the team.

Based on an Opening Day payroll of $103.8 million, the Dodgers’ payroll for its major league roster in the second half of May was about $8.25 million. The figure includes 16 days’ salary, but not any signing bonus payments that happen to fall due.

The Times, citing anonymous sources, reported last week that McCourt needed roughly $9.8 million to meet Tuesday’s payroll. His financial woes will increase in June because the Dodgers owe Manny Ramirez more than $6 million in deferred compensation, the paper said. …

May 25

Hong-Chih Kuo making progress

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has an update on Hong-Chih Kuo:

… (Kuo) appears to have regained his command while throwing off a mound at the team’s spring-training facility in Glendale, Ariz.

“He has been throwing a lot,” Dodgers manager Ned Colletti said. “He is at about 90 percent intensity and having no problems with his command. We’ll see where we go from here.”

Colletti said Kuo eventually will face hitters in extended spring-training games, but that there is no target date for that to happen, nor is there a target date for Kuo to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment, which would be a necessary precursor to him coming off the disabled list and rejoining the Dodgers bullpen. …

Elsewhere …

May 23

Ethier, Barajas out of lineup but not on DL

Andre Ethier and Rod Barajas are being held off the disabled list, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

In addition, Aaron Miles has returned to the playing field. He’ll give Jamey Carroll, who has played in 46 of 48 games this season, a theoretical day off — although it seems very likely we could see Carroll off the bench.

Dodger batting leaders for May appear in the chart below. James Loney, who is batting third in the Dodgers’ latest makeshift lineup, does in fact have the third-best May OPS among tonight’s starting nine:

Update: More from Jackson:

Ethier said he woke up without soreness one day after injuring his left big toe, left elbow and lower back when he banged into the right field wall chasing a ball.

“I’m going to go out and see how I feel [during batting practice] and go from there,” he said. “I don’t know if it was a good sign or a bad sign, but I really wasn’t all that sore when I woke up this morning.”

Mattingly said he wouldn’t hesitate to use the left-handed-hitting Ethier as a pinch hitter, but with the Dodgers scheduled to face Astros lefty J.A. Happ on Tuesday night, Mattingly said that might be a good excuse to rest Ethier for one more day.

Barajas, who suffered a sprained right wrist on a play at the plate, was sent for an MRI exam on Monday morning. Just as the X-rays he underwent on Sunday, the MRI showed no fracture and nothing seriously wrong.

“It’s still sore, but it hasn’t gotten any worse,” Barajas said. “I think I could [play], but I love to play. I feel like I could tough it out even if I’m not 100 percent.” …

“At this point, we have a couple of guys we can put back there [to catch],” Mattingly said, adding that infielder Russell Mitchell is his primary emergency catcher for now. “But obviously, you don’t anticipate Navarro getting hurt.”

Meanwhile, third baseman Casey Blake (left elbow) and reliever Blake Hawksworth (right groin) were set to begin their minor league rehabilitation assignments on Monday night at Triple-A Albuquerque and advanced Class A Rancho Cucamonga, respectively. Outfielder Marcus Thames (right quad) is tentatively slated to report to Albuquerque on Friday, and Mattingly said he likely will need a longer rehab than Blake, whom team officials hope to activate in about a week.

May 22

Furcal comes off disabled list, Uribe goes on

The Dodgers today traded Juan Uribe to the Los Angeles Disabled Listers for Rafael Furcal.

The Disabled Listers, hoping to make a run for the National League West title, apparently believed that Uribe’s versatility would be an asset, despite his slow start to the 2011 season. A factor for the DLers is certainly that Uribe is in the first year of a three-year contract, and they want him to feel comfortable playing on their team for the long haul.

The DLers have also been trying to lure Aaron Miles to bolster their infield. Some have questioned the value of this potential acquisition, but Miles, despite his lack of power, has shown some amount of timely hitting that could make his move to the DLers a significant one.

The biggest weakness for the DLers remains their starting rotation, as the Dodgers have stubbornly refused to deal a frontline pitcher to the band-aided wonders. Luckily for the DLers, their bullpen has been overflowing with arms. In the meantime, Darren Dreifort and Jason Schmidt have come out of retirement to anchor the starting pitching.

May 21

Dodger bench down to two healthy players

The Dodgers enter today with four injured infielders: Casey Blake, Rafael Furcal, Aaron Miles and Juan Uribe. Because the latter two are on the active roster and because of the designated hitter today, Los Angeles’ healthy bench consists of Tony Gwynn Jr. and Dioner Navarro. That’s it.

May 20

Can it get any worse? Oh yes, it can …

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesEven Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs is concerned about the state of mind of Juan Uribe and the Dodgers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have the 14th-best record in the National League and are tied for 25th in the majors, will try to avoid falling into last place in the NL West while playing in their longtime chamber of horrors, the American League.

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. offers a glimpse of how awful the Dodgers have been on the road in interleague play: an 11-37 record since 2005, outscored by exactly two runs per game. In 2009, the Dodgers managed to go 5-4, leaving them 6-33 (.254) in the other seasons. That projects to 25 wins per 162 games.

Fortunes can change at any moment, but some moments seem more likely than others. This is a Dodger team that has had trouble filling out eight spots in a batting order — the idea of a ninth is practically comical, although more often than not it figures to involve Tony Gwynn Jr. playing in the field and a starting or backup outfielder filling the DH spot.

The best news for the Dodgers is that they won’t need to pinch-hit for any pitchers (unless Chad Billingsley DHes.) The pitching remains relatively strong, with rookies Kenley Jansen, Scott Elbert and Javy Guerra combining for a 0.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings this month.

Chicago has the same 20-25 record that the Dodgers have — if you’re interested, the White Sox were an MLB-best 15-3 in interleague games last year. So the Dodgers shouldn’t be scared, but it won’t be a surprise if, after the 19-25 Padres are done hosting the 19-24 Mariners later tonight, Los Angeles is looking up at everyone in the NL West.

May 19

Padilla latest to go (back) to the disabled list

Vicente Padilla is heading back to the disabled list with a balky forearm, meaning that Ramon Troncoso will be called up and perhaps get a chance to work on that 20.25 ERA. With Padilla, Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo and Blake Hawksworth out, more than half the Dodgers’ regularly scheduled bullpen is on the DL. That’s brutal.

May 18

Back to basics: The Giants return to town

With the Giants coming back to town for their first new visit since the Bryan Stow assault, this feels like very serious business.

I think many of us have been preoccupied over the past few weeks with the number of empty seats at Dodger Stadium, but more important is that every person attending, no matter how many, can root for their favorite team or players without feeling threatened.

* * *

For all the caterwauling about the Dodger offense, Los Angeles is averaging 3.465 runs per game, San Francisco 3.463. Dominance!

Some notes on Clayton Kershaw, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:

1) Kershaw’s career ERA against the Giants is 1.07. That’s the lowest ERA against the Giants by any of the 755 pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings against the Giants over the last 100 seasons. (The National League began recording earned runs back in 1912.)

2) Kershaw has thrown 23 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings against the Giants, the longest streak by a Dodgers pitcher against the Giants since Don Sutton shut them out for 31 straight innings (1977-78).

May 17

Two weeks until B-Day?

Two weeks from today, the bills reportedly come due for Frank McCourt. Will he bail and file for bankruptcy? Will he surrender the team to Bud’s butting-in? Will he find another blowhard to do his bidding? Or will there be a different Plan B?

* * *

I’m guessing that it’s been a very long time since the Dodgers have had a starting lineup this late in the season in which the players with the most playing time at three positions each had an OPS below .600.

Jerry Sands, James Loney and Juan Uribe have combined to go 75 for 352 (.213) with four home runs, 16 doubles, 26 walks and 69 strikeouts. On-base percentage: .273, slugging percentage: .293, OPS: .566.