Monday, May 21, 2012

Mark Ellis a huge loss for Dodgers, plus other news and notes

I was definitely in the minority when the Dodgers signed Mark Ellis in November. Perhaps it's because living in Northern California, I get to watch a lot of Oakland Athletics' games, so I saw him play a lot. Perhaps it's because I have no idea what I'm talking about.

This is what I wrote the day he signed:
"Ellis will likely be the team's starting second baseman and could play shortstop in a pinch, ala the recently departed Jamey Carroll. Carroll got $7 million for two years in Minnesota.

By comparison, it's not that bad a deal. Ellis plays good defense at second and has a little pop -- well, at least more than Carroll does."
And we have to realize it could have been a lot worse.
"I'm OK with this signing. It's not great, but it's not as bad as people are making it out to be.

Perhaps I'm just a Mark Ellis apologist (if there is such a thing). But at least the Dodgers didn't bring in Clint Barmes at this price."

But when Ellis went down with a serious knee injury -- so serious that he literally almost lost his leg -- it hurt the Dodgers much more than people would have thought following his signing.

The "other" Ellis has been a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers this season, posting a .273/.373/.364 line through 37 games this season. He's also drawn 18 walks against 18 strikeouts. To put that in perspective, Ellis drew 22 walks in 519 plate appearances in 2011.

Ellis has also been the best defensive second baseman the Dodgers have put out there since Alex Cora in 2004.

With an infield already starting guys like Adam Kennedy, Justin Sellers and Elian Herrera and with guys like Juan Uribe on the disabled list, losing Ellis was a big blow.

Ivan De Jesus was recalled to take his spot. He's starting at second base tonight for the Dodgers against Arizona. The Dodgers also re-signed Aaron Miles to a minor-league deal earlier this month, so he'll probably be in the mix if De Jesus and/or Herrera don't play well enough (unfortunately).

This injury likely saved Dee Gordon from a demotion to Triple-A. While he's getting a few days off, there was scuttlebutt around that he might be on his way to Albuquerque. The fact is, the Dodgers don't have enough healthy middle infielders in the majors for that to happen.

Ellis will be out about six weeks (best-case scenario), so the Dodgers will just have to make due without him until that time.

Here's to a full recovery for Ellis. He's been really good this season and I'm looking forward to seeing him back at second base and in the No. 2 spot in the lineup.


Alex Castellanos is still on the DL in Triple-A and there is no timetable for his return, tweets Chris Jackson of the Albuquerque Examiner.

Clayton Kershaw was named the National League Player of the Week after winning both his starts, recording 16 scoreless innings (including a shutout of the Cardinals on Saturday) and 13 baserunners allowed.

Blake Smith was named the Southern League Player of the Week after a .444 average, two doubles, a triple, two home runs and 11 RBI performance.

Mike Petriello has a look at James Loney and his being the only constant remaining in the Dodgers' infield.

Chad Moryiama has the GIF of Scott Van Slyke's first Major League home run from Sunday's game. It couldn't have come at a better time.

Photo credit: EephusBlue

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