The Dodgers designated Edwin Uceta for assignment on Thursday, not a move you normally see during the postseason. But the team decided it needed to make room on the 40-man roster for utility man Andy Burns, who replaced Justin Turner on the NLCS roster.
Turner suffered a Grade 2 left hamstring strain in the seventh inning of Game 4, and limped off the field, helped into the dugout by Albert Pujols. Turner’s season is officially over, as he was replaced on the NLCS roster by Burns, who played nine games for the Dodgers in June. By MLB rule, should the Dodgers advance past the Braves, Turner would be ineligible for the next round, which is the World Series.
Manager Dave Roberts on Thursday night said the Dodgers were considering Burns, along with Billy McKinney and Zach McKinstry to take Turner’s roster spot. McKinney and McKinstry both bat left-handed, while the 30-year-old Burns is a right-handed hitter.
Burns hit .232/.361/.412 with 12 doubles and six home runs in 54 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, starting games at third base, second base, first base, left field, and right field. With the Dodgers, in Burns’ first major league stint in five years, he started twice at second base, also played third base and first base, and even pitched an inning.
The incremental upgrade of potential infield defense that Burns provides was seen as enough to dump Uceta, just 11 months after the right-hander was added to the 40-man roster.
Uceta made his way back and forth between Triple-A Oklahoma City and the majors for seven different stints with the Dodgers. The 23-year-old pitched in 14 games, including one start in his major league debut on April 30, allowing two runs in two innings against the Brewers. His first major league stint lasted two days, and he had two other one-day stints in what was a season of roster churn for the Dodgers.
Uceta had a 6.64 ERA and 4.40 FIP with 25 strikeouts and 12 walks in 20⅓ innings.