Travis Blankenhorn played four positions and for four organizations in 2021, with the Dodgers his second leg of the tour. Blankenhorn’s time on the Los Angeles 40-man roster lasted a total of one week, one of the busiest position-player turnover period of the season.
On May 14, Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry were not quite ready to return from long injured list stints, and the Dodgers just found out Edwin Ríos needed season-ending shoulder surgery. With several rookies unable to fill the void, the Dodgers were in need of any functional body who could occasionally put a bat to the baseball.
On that Friday, the Dodgers claimed Blankenhorn off waivers from the Twins, adding the 24-year-old left-handed hitter who spent the bulk of his minor league time at second and third base, with some left field mixed in. The corresponding move to add Blankenhorn to the Dodgers roster was Dustin May getting transferred to the 60-day injured list after his Tommy John surgery.
By the time Blankenhorn reached Triple-A Oklahoma City, the Dodgers had an even busier weekend.
AJ Pollock strained his hamstring later that May 14 night, and Corey Seager was hit by a pitch on his hand the next night, which would wipe out the shortstop for 11 weeks. In between, the Dodgers traded for corner man Yoshi Tsutsugo and reached agreement with the recently-released Albert Pujols on a deal that would be finalized on May 17.
Blankenhorn’s thunder was stolen, and perhaps his fate was obvious when he only appeared as a pinch-hitter for Oklahoma City, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
On May 21, one week after he was claimed, Blankenhorn was designated for assignment. Three days later he was on the move again, claimed off waivers by the Mariners.
Blankenhorn’s time with the Mariners was similarly short, playing in four games for Triple-A Reno, but on June 1 he was claimed off waivers again, this time by the Mets. In less than a month, Blankenhorn played in four different organizations.
He played for a total of 24 major league games this season. Blankenhorn didn’t bat for the Twins, but appeared in one game, manning second base for all of two outs. With New York, he was 4-for-23 with two doubles and a home run (.174/.208/.391). Blankenhorn played second base, left field, and right field in the majors, starting once, at second base.
Stats: 4-for-23, 2 doubles, HR, 4 RBI, .174/.208/.391; with Dodgers, 0-for-3, 2 K in Triple-A
Game of the year
With the Dodgers, Blankenhorn played all of three games in Triple-A. On May 17 against Sacramento, he flew out to center field as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. In his other two games with OKC, he struck out.
On the season as a whole, Blankenhorn’s best game in the majors included a pinch-hit, three-run home run for the Mets in the fourth inning on July 18, pulling them within 6-4 in a game New York won 7-6.
Blankenhorn is on the Mets’ 40-man roster.