Before tonight's series opener with the Mets, the Dodgers optioned speedster Dee Gordon to Triple A Albuquerque. In his place, the club purchased the contract of Eugenio Velez, who has played second base, third base, left field and right field with the Isotopes. The former Giant was hitting .339/.371/.463 in the PCL.
Gordon getting sent down was expected, as he needs to play everyday, something that wouldn't happen with Rafael Furcal back and playing. Gordon's option may be a short one. "He may be reminiscent of Kershaw, who came up a little bit early, pitched for a while, went back down to catch his breath, then came back and did great," said general manager Ned Colletti. Both Colletti and Mattingly praised Gordon's desire to be great, with Mattingly recalling specifically Dee telling him specifically that he "wanted to be the best." Everyone seemed impressed with Gordon's work ethic and ability and desire to ask questions and make adjustments. "I'm sure we'll see Dee before the year's over," Mattingly said.
Velez, who will wear number three with the Dodgers, arrived at Dodger Stadium just past 3 p.m. today. He figures to play all over in the infield and outfield for the Dodgers, the latter in need because Marcus Thames still has issues with his left calf that prevents him from playing the outfield, and limits him to pinch hitting duty. Don Mattingly said Thames would take some grounders at first base this week -- Mattingly called it "a tryout camp" -- as the club currently is without a backup first baseman. Thames played three innings of first base in 2009, and his last start at the position came in 2008 while with Detroit.
As for other backup first basemen, Mattingly said he has also thought about using Juan Uribe at first, and that Mattingly knows Andre Ethier can play the position if needed.
Catcher Rod Barajas had a slight setback in his recovery over the weekend during blocking drills. Barajas, who has been on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle since June 19, resumed blocking drills and running the bases today, though no timetable has yet been set for his return. He will need to catch a few games on a rehab assignment before being activated.
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Game Time: 6:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket