What we knew this morning was that John Ely was going to start Sunday's game, as the Dodgers try for their second-ever sweep at Petco Park against the Padres. It was assumed that one of the backup catchers would be the roster casualty to make room for Ely, and in fact that was the case, albeit with a twist.
A.J. Ellis, one day after his 30th birthday, was told he would be optioned to the minor leagues and had packed his bags. However, the Dodgers changed their mind, and instead placed Hector Gimenez, who is out of options, on the 15-day disabled list with right knee pain. "[Hector's] been complaining about it for a while," general manager Ned Colletti said before the game of Gimenez's right knee, which has been iced daily dating back to spring training. Gimenez is on the disabled list retroactive to yesterday, so the earliest date he can return is April 24.
Ely is making his first start of 2011, and his first start ever against the Padres. Part of the reason Ely was chosen over Tim Redding is that Ely is on the 40-man roster while Redding is not. Since this fifth starter role is a temporary one, perhaps as short as one start (Jon Garland is making a rehab start this afternoon with Rancho Cucamonga), picking Ely gives the Dodgers the convenience of being able to option him back once Garland is ready. For that convenience, the Dodgers hope they get the seven rather than the 11. In Ely's first seven starts last season, he was 2-1 with a 2.54 ERA, but in his final 11 starts Ely plummeted to 1-8 with an 8.00 ERA.
- Aaron Harang is 2-6 with a 5.85 ERA in eight career starts against the Dodgers.
- Rafael Furcal is sitting for the second straight game, still battling a left wrist injury. He is still having trouble swinging the bat, and his availability to pinch hit in today's game is up in the air.
- Casey Blake is showing no ill effects from last night's game-ending collision with Chase Headley, but still sits today. Manager Don Mattingly wanted to give Blake a day off, and cited Blake's career numbers against Harang (4-for-21, .190/.292/.381) to make today as good a day as any for Blake to rest.
- Mattingly also mentioned that Aaron Miles had better numbers off of Harang, but upon further review that appears to be the case only superficially. Miles has a .316 batting average, but all six hits are singles, plus only one walk, so Miles' OPS against Harang (.666) is actually lower than Blake's (.673).
- The Dodgers won't know about Garland's availability for Friday until tomorrow at the earliest, and perhaps not until later in the week.
- The Padres also made two roster moves before today's game. They recalled pitcher Wade LeBlanc from Triple A Tucson and activated outfielder Eric Patterson from the disabled list, and optioned pitcher Samuel Deduno and outfielder Cedric Hunter to Triple A. Patterson is starting in centerfield today for San Diego.
Game Time: 1:05 p.m.