Dodgers add Weaver, activate Wade
DeWitt optioned to Triple-A; Mientkiewicz now on 60-day DL
LOS ANGELES -- Underscoring concern over their pitching, the Dodgers on Thursday went to a 13-man staff, purchasing the contract of Jeff Weaver from Triple-A Albuquerque and activating Cory Wade from the disabled list.
To make room for Wade, the club optioned Blake DeWitt back to Albuquerque. There already was room on the 25-man roster for Weaver because the club optioned reliever Scott Elbert to Double-A Chattanooga on Wednesday night. To make room for Weaver on the 40-man roster, the club moved injured infielder Doug Mientkiewicz to the 60-day disabled list.
Weaver and Wade provide reinforcements for a bullpen depleted from Wednesday night's 2 2/3-inning start by Eric Stults.
It will be a real homecoming for Weaver, a native Southern Californian. He not only returns to the Dodgers, having pitched for them in 2004-05, but also returns to the Major Leagues for the first time since the end of the 2007 season.
Although veterans Eric Milton and Shawn Estes are also pitching well on an unusually seasoned Albuquerque staff, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Weaver got the first call because he was the last pitcher cut in Spring Training and he is the most experienced in terms of relief.
"Last guy out, first guy in," said Torre, who managed Weaver with the Yankees and said he would immediately become the bullpen long man. Weaver, Torre said, had the club made in the spring until the sudden emergence of Ronald Belisario.
Torre said he went to 13 pitchers "to keep us from abusing anybody." With young starters Stults, James McDonald and Clayton Kershaw having trouble pitching deep into games, there has been speculation that Weaver or another veteran at Triple-A would move in the starting rotation, but "we don't have plans for that now," Torre said.
Torre said Weaver did not take his demotion at the end of Spring Training well, "but he went. At the time he asked a very legitimate question -- what do I have to do to make the team? We said we wanted to extend him. He didn't rebel."
Weaver, who wore No. 63 in Spring Training, had the numerals turned back around to the No. 36 he wore in his first Dodgers stint. He said his pitch count was up to 60 in the one start he made for Albuquerque but added he was "blessed with a wet noodle" for an arm and he could throw as often or as long as needed. He went 1-0 with one save and a 3.55 ERA.
"I was throwing good," he said of his spring. "I don't know if it was disappointing [to be sent down]. Maybe a little frustrating. I wasn't the only one."
Weaver said the Albuquerque club had "more veteran presence" than any Minor League team around.
"We were 1-7 in day games and the media joked that the old guys couldn't get up and ready for the 11 o'clock games," he said.
Wade returns from a bout with right shoulder bursitis. He pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday night in a Minor League rehab start for Class A Inland Empire. Wade had gone 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four appearances before he was put on the DL.
The club has been indecisive on DeWitt, having already sent him back to the Minor Leagues twice this year, torn between having him be a versatile left-handed bat on the bench or play every day at Triple-A. He was batting .176 with only 17 at-bats.
The Dodgers' bench now consists of catcher Brad Ausmus, outfielder Juan Pierre and infielders Juan Castro and Mark Loretta.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.