Any attempts to predict baseball seem futile when hit with the strange truth and reality of the game. In late August, the first place Dodgers were rightfully concerned that Luis Cruz could miss time with a left leg injury.
But the team was concerned, as in past tense, because Cruz only had a cramp in his leg on Sunday, and passed all the tests administered to him by the team training staff. Cruz is starting at third base Monday night against the Giants, his 36th start in the last 43 games.
"The way he's swinging now it's hard not to put him in there," said manager Don Mattingly. "I'll give him a day here and there. But when he's swinging the bat like this it's hard to put anyone else over there."
Cruz just completed the road trip of a lifetime, hitting .448 (13-for-29) with four doubles, two home runs, seven runs batted in, and five runs scored during the 10-game trek to Miami, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta. But will Cruz remain in the lineup once Dee Gordon returns?
Gordon just began baseball activities at Camelback Ranch, and is likely to start a rehab assignment in a week or so, which puts him on track for a return once rosters expand in September. Which is just far enough away that Mattingly isn't concerned just yet.
"Right now we don't have to worry about it. We'll see when Dee gets back. We're still a week away from being able to play games," Mattingly said. "We're still a ways away from him being able to play games (here)."
On the season, Cruz is hitting .286/.329/.474 with 13 doubles, four home runs, and 25 RBI in 38 games.
"He lengthens our lineup," Mattingly said.
- Ted Lilly was scratched from his rehab start on Sunday with Class A Rancho Cucamonga, and is at Dodger Stadium tonight to visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache. "Teddy's rehab has been up and down. He's going to see the doctor tonight, and we'll see how that goes," Mattingly said.
- Rubby De La Rosa, who has 12 strikeouts in 12 scoreless innings in his four minor league rehab games, will throw a bullpen session Tuesday, Mattingly said. De La Rosa last started Saturday night for Rancho Cucamonga, throwing four scoreless innings.
- Matt Guerrier will make his third rehab appearance with Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday.
- Sunday's roster move, activating Scott Elbert and optioning Elian Herrera to Triple A Albuquerque, left the Dodgers with 13 pitchers and 12 position players. Mattingly said that unless an injury happens in the next 11 days, the roster will likely remain with that structure until active roster limits expand in September.
"Right now we're playing short, but we don't switch much. Those guys stay in the game," Mattingly said. "I'm not using a lot of guys. If we get somebody banged up then we'll have to talk about it."
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket, ESPN2