JC's Dodger Line Drives | May 1st: Roster Changes Made, More Are Needed

J.C. AyvaziSenior Analyst IMay 2, 2009

The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated their neighbors from San Diego on Thursday 8-5, in a game which could be described as a knife fight—only both sides were using butter knives.

Each side tried to give away the game. The Dodgers,with yet another ineffective start from James McDonald; and the Padres, with a shaky bullpen and a magic bullet of a throw from rightfielder Brian Giles that eluded every glove in it's path to allow Casey Blake to bring in the eventual winning run.

The game also featured a power display from Orlando Hudson and Manny Ramirez, who scored back-to-back home runs in the third inning to erase the Padre lead. Hudson's landed on the top of the wall before bouncing into the seats. Manny's was a no doubt blast that was described by Dodger announcer Vin Scully as turning the baseball into a golf ball against the dark night sky.

Twice As Nice

The first four Dodger hitters; Rafael Furcal, Hudson, Ramirez, and Andre Ethier all collected two hits. Joining them in collecting a brace were Matt Kemp and Blake. James Loney was able to scratch out one hit while Russell Martin drew a collar.

Strong Lumber Off The Bench

Mark Loretta delivered a pinch hit single in the seventh, driving home Kemp to tie the game at five all. It was a well placed ball off of a perfect swing, at least in the eyes of Dodger fans. Padre fans might have a different version, invoking luck or the influence of the underworld.

In any case, Loretta is now 7 for 10 coming off the bench, showing the value of a solid education. Did I mention he attended my alma mater of St. Francis High School in La Canada? Remember. the Golden Knights are the only Knights, blast the Black ones—that means you Notre Dame.

Roster Shakeup Details

The Dodgers fortified their bullpen with a couple of moves before facing the Padres. Lefty reliever Scott Elbert was returned to Double-A Chattanooga and infielder Blake DeWitt was sent down to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Cory Wade was activated from the disabled list and retired the side in order in the eighth inning, three fly balls on only five pitches. A healthy Wade in the setup role will go a long way in re-solidifying the Dodger bullpen.

Jeff Weaver was recalled from Albuquerque and extinguished the fire started by McDonald, with the assist of some fancy glove work by centerfielder Kemp. Weaver contributed four solid innings, striking out four while scattering four hits and a walk.

Tis a strange but true moment, I fully endorse Weaver's return to the Dodgers. When he departed in 2006, his 3-10 record along with an ERA of 6.29 screamed good riddance. Now, a bit wiser and willing to work out of the bullpen, Weaver has the looks of a valuable addition on the way to a championship run.

The Dodgers transferred Doug Mientkiewicz to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Weaver on the 40-man roster.

It should also be pointed out starters Eric Milton and Shawn Estes are with the Albuquerque team and pitching well of late, waiting for their opportunity to wear Dodger Blue during the regular season.

Manager Joe Torre noted that Weaver was the last player cut at the end of spring. "Last guy out, first guy in," was his quote, conveniently forgetting the since reassigned Elbert. But it sounds good anyway.

The demotion of Blake DeWitt was necessary for his continued development. This marks the second time he has been sent to Triple-A. Hopefully the Dodger brain trust will keep him there until the September call-ups so he can get the needed at bats and experience which will provide the opportunity for DeWitt to grow into a better overall player. DeWitt should not return beforehand unless he will be in the everyday lineup, for both his and the franchise's sake.

And Now For Something Completely Different

The Dodgers need to send pitcher James McDonald to the minors. Not because he is getting pushed around by hitters, but due his poor mechanics. He needs time to get his delivery straightened out. The best place for that is in the lower pressure platform of the minors.

If you watch closely, McDonald is not able to keep his delivery consistent. Leg, arm and torso are all out of whack, sometimes a little bit and other times a great deal. This is why he is unable to locate his pitches with any consistency.

He seemed near tears when leaving the game against San Diego on Thursday. This is a kid pitching for his hometown team who has been touted very highly. For Collitti, Torre and Honeycutt to continue to keep McDonald on the major league roster and putting him into game is borderline abusive.

McDonald has a thunderbolt for an arm, but he does not yet have the ability to properly control it, particularly in a starting assignment. Send him down for his own good, as well as the good of the Dodger franchise. Not doing so now could be considered the baseball equivalent of child abuse.

Los Angeles have the previously mentioned Milton and Estes options waiting in Albuquerque to fill in the starting spot in the rotation. The time is now to make that change.

Dodgertown, California To Get Own Zip Code

The US Postal Service will designate Dodger Stadium and it's associated property with a signature Zip Code: 90090 which will be officially unveiled at Dodger Stadium on Saturday June 6th, before their game against the Philadelphia Phillies in a 1:10 nationally televised contest.

The Los Angeles City Council designated the property as "Dodgertown" in October of 2008. The move has some basis in the Dodgers leaving their Florida spring home in Vero Beach, known as Dodgertown for decades.

Gregory G. Graves, the Los Angeles district manager for the USPS, noted how the new Zip Code would allow for faster and more efficient mail delivery to the Dodger players and staff. In addition to fans in the US, the Dodgers receive mail from around the world, given their leadership position in bringing baseball to all countries.

Mail arrives from all over—particularly Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, China, Dominican Republic, and Mexico—all places where the Dodgers have worked hard to establish ties and the homeland of many great Dodger players through the years.


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