Ronnie Belliard Designated For Assignment; Trent Oeltjen Called Up

The Dodgers purchased the contract of left-hand hitting outfielder Trent Oeltjen from Triple A, which was an expected move, at least since yesterday. What wasn't expected was the corresponding move. To make room on the 40-man roster for the Australian, the Dodgers designated Ronnie Belliard for assignment, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

Much as the 2010 Dodgers are not performing like their 2009 counterparts, Belliard is not enjoying as good a season as he did last year. Belliard was a lightly regarded bench pickup who hit his way into the starting lineup, invoking thoughts of another infielder acquired from the Nationals late in the season, Marlon Anderson in 2006. Belliard hit .351/.398/.636 with 12 extra-base hits in 24 games as a Dodger last season, and ended up supplanting Orlando Hudson, starting every playoff game at second base.

The Dodgers re-signed Belliard, official Friend of Manny®, this offseason for $825,000, but the contract didn't become guaranteed until he weighed in at 209 pounds or less in spring training. In a limited role this season, Belliard has struggled, hitting just .216/.295/.327 in 82 games. He started games at second base, third base, and first base this season.

The 27-year-old Oeltjen made his major league debut last season for the Diamondbacks, hitting three home runs in his first four games, before finishing the season in a 5-for-46 slump. He signed a minor league deal earlier this season with the Dodgers after getting released by the Brewers. He hit .347/.419/.563 in 49 games with Albuquerque.

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