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Dodgers minors: AJ Pollock completes rehab, Miguel Vargas remains red hot

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OKC first baseman Rangel Ravelo named player of the month in Triple-A

Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

AJ Pollock completed his rehab assignment with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday, singling and scoring a run in his fourth game in five days. The original plan was for Pollock to play deeper into the game, but he was removed after just three innings in left field, and two at-bats.

“From what I heard, he felt three innings was enough,” manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday night. “To get out of there feeling good, as a veteran ballplayer, you just have to trust him.”

As a reminder, stats don’t matter all that much on minor league rehab assignments, which are more about regaining timing in games rather than simulated environments. But, after missing 18 games with a left hamstring strain, Pollock had two hits in nine at-bats with a home run and a walk in his four games with the Quakes, and played 14 total innings in left field.

Pollock and reliever Jimmy Nelson will fly with the Dodgers to Atlanta on Thursday and are expected to be activated against the Braves, possibly as soon as Friday. Roberts said the team would go back to a full, five-player bench, with 13 position players and 13 pitchers on the active roster.

“That leaves a couple of pitchers we’ve got to make decisions on,” Roberts said.

Seven of the 10 active relievers were used in Tuesday’s close bullpen game, and Victor Gonzalez was unavailable after pitching the previous two days. That left Edwin Uceta and Alex Vesia to pitch the final three innings of Wednesday’s blowout win.

Player of the day

Miguel Vargas homered and doubled for Great Lakes on Wednesday, extending his hitting streak to nine games and his on-base streak to 23 games.

Vargas played third base, where he’s started 22 times this season, along with two starts at second base and once at first. But the ticket to advancement for the 21-year-old is his bat, one of the best hitting prospects in the Dodgers system. Vargas was one of five Dodgers to be named to some national top-100 prospect list prior to the season, ranked No. 77 in the sport by Baseball Prospectus, who called Vargas “a naturally-gifted hitter.”

Wednesday’s home run was the fourth for Vargas in 26 games this season, to go with nine doubles. He’s hitting .321/.378/.519, leading the High-A Central (nee Midwest League) in hits (34), second in batting average, ninth in slugging percentage and OPS (.897), with a strikeout rate (19.2 percent) much better than the league (26.5 percent).

Triple-A Oklahoma City

No game for OKC on Wednesday, but first baseman Rangel Ravelo was named Triple-A West player of the month for May. The 29-year-old hit .420/.529/.754 with eight doubles, five home runs, 19 RBI, 15 runs scored, and 14 walks in 20 games last month.

Before Ravelo, the last Oklahoma City player to win player of the month was Gavin Lux in July 2019.

Double-A Tulsa

Kody Hoese hit his first Double-A home run in the Drillers’ rout of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals). It’s been a struggle for the third baseman, drafted in the first round in 2019 out of Tulane, entering Wednesday at just .161/.202/.172, with two hits in his previous 22 at-bats. But Hoese singled a run home in the fifth before hitting a three-run shot off Derrick Adams in the ninth.

Right fielder Donovan Casey singled three times and drove in two. First baseman Ryan Noda singled, walked twice, and scored three times.

Gerardo Carrillo struck out five in 5⅓ innings, allowing only a run in his longest outing of the season, earning the win.

High-A Great Lakes

Jesus Vargas was the bulk pitcher, allowing one run in 5⅔ innings, striking out three in the Loons’ win over the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers). First baseman Justin Yurchak doubled, singled, and drove in two.

Left-hander Alec Gamboa, the Dodgers’ ninth-round pick in 2019 out of Fresno City College, talked to Brian Crawford at Baseball Essential about his pitch repertoire:

“I’ve been tweaking the changeup here and there with our pitching coach Ryan Dennick,” explained Gamboa. “Ryan talked to me about pitch design and he adjusted my grip a bit. My grip is different, and it’s working out.”

Low-A Rancho Cucamonga

A three-run fifth-inning home run by Angels shortstop prospect Jeremiah Jackson proved the difference in the Quakes’ loss to the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels). It was one of three home runs by Inland Empire.

Rancho Cucamonga hit two home runs of their own, by right fielder Jonny Deluca and shortstop Eddys Leonard.

Transactions

Triple-A: Left-hander Justin Bruihl, after a 1.20 ERA with 20 strikeouts and three walks in 15 innings in Tulsa, was promoted to Oklahoma City. Bruihl was an undrafted free agent signed by the Dodgers in 2017 out of San Luis Obispo.

Double-A: Catcher Stevie Berman went from OKC to Tulsa.

Wednesday scores

Thursday schedule

  • 4:05 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Logan Boyer) vs. West Michigan (Keider Montero)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Tony Gonsolin) vs. Sugar Land [Astros] (TBD)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Andre Jackson) at NW Arkansas (Alec Marsh)
  • 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Gavin Stone) vs. Inland Empire (Ryan Smith)