Ask any member of the Albuquerque Isotopes, even those players on the 40-man roster, if they have heard about being called up in September by the Dodgers and the answer will sound the same.
“Honestly I have no clue with the situation they’re in, you don’t know if they’re going to call a few people up or call everybody up,” third baseman Russ Mitchell said. “I’m just trying to put myself in the best situation and whatever comes. Who knows? Right now I’m playing (well). Hopefully I get called up, but you never know.”
Outfielder-first baseman Jerry Sands said something similar in a recent interview.
Mitchell and Sands are two of six Isotopes who are currently on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, along with infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., center fielder Jamie Hoffmann, starting pitcher John Ely and reliever Ramon Troncoso.
All six players have spent time with the Dodgers earlier this season and hope to do so again.
“We have to be optimistic about L.A., but you never know what they’re going to do,” Hoffmann said. “All you can control is what you do on the field. You just have to stay consistent and hopefully they’ll give you a shot.”
The Dodgers are expected to shut down rookie starter Nate Eovaldi soon as he hits his innings pitched limit, which would open the door for Ely (7-6, 5.56 ERA) to take his spot in the rotation.
Troncoso (2-3, 5.43) should be added for bullpen depth, while Sands (.276, 27 HR, 79 RBI) will get a second look to see if he might be ready to seize the left field or first base jobs in Los Angeles next season.
Hoffmann (.305, 22 HR, 82 RBI) has been on fire in August (.355, 8 HR, 29 RBI), but the Dodgers could decide they have enough outfielders as it is with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Juan Rivera, plus Sands.
Mitchell (.283, 15 HR, 66 RBI) and De Jesus (.311, 8 HR, 52 RBI) should be able to help out a beleagured Dodgers infield, which cannot count on Juan Uribe or Casey Blake to play much down the stretch.
De Jesus was not called up last year in September, but he said that has no bearing on his August hot streak (.330, 6 HR, 21 RBI).
“I just want to finish strong, I don’t have control of that,” De Jesus said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I just want to improve my numbers and we’ll see what happens.”
As for the players who are not on the 40-man roster, they will have to hope the Dodgers can make room for them. There is currently one open spot after catcher Dioner Navarro was cut last week, but Los Angeles does have the option of moving several injured players (Jonathan Broxton, Jon Garland, Vicente Padilla) who are out for the year to the 60-day disabled list to make room.
“It’s been a lot of maybes, basically,” starting pitcher Dana Eveland (12-8, 4.38) said. “That’s kind of how I feel. We’ll see. If it happens, it happens, if not, then I’ll go home and enjoy my offseason.”
Catcher Tim Federowicz (.369, 5 HR, 13 RBI) probably has the best shot to get called up of the players who are not on the 40-man. With Navarro being cut, Los Angeles only has two catchers on the 40-man in current big-leaguers Rod Barajas and A.J. Ellis.
Around the Lab
- Randy Keisler (7-7) led the Isotopes to a 9-0 victory over Round Rock on Friday. Keisler tossed seven scoreless innings before giving way to Ramon Troncoso and Jon Link, who completed the four-hit shutout. Joe Becker hit two triples while Russ Mitchell was 3-for-5 with four RBI.
- The Isotopes juggled the roster with four moves in the last two days. Outfield prospect Kyle Russell was recalled from Double-A Chattanooga, where he batted .259 with 19 homers, 69 RBI and 144 strikeouts in 394 at-bats. Russell went 1-for-2 with a run scored and two walks on Friday. Reliever Joe Newby (2-6, 6.08) was activated from the disabled list after missing time with a strained lower back. Reliever Ryan Acosta (6.00, one game) and outfielder Brad Coon (.301, 7 RBI) were both placed on the DL with a strained right ankle and a strained right hamstring, respectively.