The Dodgers on Friday activated outfielder and first baseman Scott Van Slyke from the disabled list before their game against the Phillies. To make room on the roster, infielder Luis Cruz was designated for assignment.
The Dodgers have 10 days to trade or release Cruz, who is now off the 40-man roster. Even if Cruz clears waivers, the Dodgers cannot outright him to the minor leagues without his consent as he has already been outrighted once in his career.
Van Slyke had been sidelined since June 11 with left shoulder bursitis. He was recalled on May 10 and provided the Dodgers with much needed power. Despite only being with the club for a month, Van Slyke is third on the Dodgers with six home runs, and is hitting .221/.284/.559.
Van Slyke played in five games on a minor league rehab assignment. He was 2-for-12 with two doubles and seven strikeouts with Triple-A Albuquerque, and 3-for-7 with two walks and a strikeout with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Against left-handed pitchers this season, Van Slyke is hitting .241/.313/.621 (7-for-29) with three home runs and two doubles in the majors and .408/.473/.735 (20-for-49) with three home runs and seven doubles in Triple-A.
Cruz was one of baseball's great stories in 2012. The longtime journeyman with 4,891 minor league plate appearances found himself as a regular at shortstop, then at third base for the Dodgers in the second half of last season. Cruz hit .297/.322/.431 with 20 doubles, six home runs and 40 RBI in 78 games, and entered spring training as the starter at third base.
But 2013 has been one long struggle for Cruz, 29, who hasn't seen his batting average rise above .140 after any single game this season. Cruz is hitting .127/.175/.169 with two doubles and a home run in 45 games. He has an astonishing 27 infield pop outs in just 128 plate appearances.
Much like Juan Uribe in 2012, Cruz has gone large pockets of time without playing in 2013 and has essentially been relegated to the bench. Cruz hasn't played in a game since June 19, in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. He has just eight plate appearances in the Dodgers' last 14 games and 58 PA in the last 48 games.
Cruz was hitless in his last 12 at-bats.
There are now 39 players on the Dodgers' 40-man roster, not including Chad Billingsley and Scott Elbert, both of whom are on the 60-day disabled list and out for the season.