Thursday, May 31, 2012

Report: Alex Castellanos recalled Dodgers, to make ML debut soon

With Matt Kemp likely heading to the disabled list after reaggravating his hamstring injury on Wednesday night, the Dodgers are set to recall Alex Castellanos from Triple-A Albuquerque.

The Castellanos fan Twitter account first brought us the news:
"You heard it here first!! Alex Castellanos is officially a member of the LOS ANGELES @Dodgers !! ‪#DodgerNation‬ he flies out TODAY!!!"
The owner of the account later revealed he is Castellanos' best friend and received a phone call earlier today.

If you needed more confirmation, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweeted this:
"Sources have confirmed: The ‪#Dodgers‬ have called up 2B Alex Castellanos. I'm a believer in his bat."
The 25-year-old is just destroying Pacific Coast League pitching this season. He has a .379/.476/.759 line in 22 games. He missed about a month with a hamstring injury.

Still, the Dodgers recalled him primarily to play second base, reportedly.

While Tony Gwynn will be the biggest beneficiary of Kemp's absence, as he will be his primary replacement in center field, a couple infielders could feel the effects of this move even more.

With Mark Ellis out, Elian Herrera and Ivan De Jesus have been getting the playing time at second base. With Castellanos coming up, it appears Herrera will return to his "normal" utility role, backing up at third base, center field and second base. De Jesus should be the primary backup second baseman.

As I said with Scott Van Slyke -- whose time with the Dodgers will likely be extended due to the Kemp injury -- prospects should not be recalled just to ride the pine. If Castellanos is coming up, he needs to be playing nearly every day.

Yet, Van Slyke hasn't played since May 27. Hopefully Don Mattingly doesn't let these prospects just wallow on the bench. If they're not going to play consistently, send them to or keep them in Triple-A. It doesn't help a young guy's development to eat sunflower seeds and chew Bazooka Joe on the bench.

But back to Castellanos. He's a work in progress defensively. He's not going to be better than any of the other four guys who have played second base this season (Ellis, De Jesus, Herrera, Jerry Hairston), but his bat could be better -- and worth whatever the Dodgers lose defensively.

If he doesn't work out at second, he has experience at all four corners -- first base, third base, left field and right field.

I'm excited to see him get a chance. I've grown fond of Castellanos since he was acquired for Rafael Furcal in July. I ranked him as the Dodgers' 21st-best prospect heading into the season -- and he's far surpassed my expectations.

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