After 16 years, Lindsey makes it to bigs in LA
Minor League veteran gets call after winning PCL batting title
SAN DIEGO -- There hasn't been much feel-good to the Dodgers' story lately, which probably explains the interest in the promotion of 33-year-old John Lindsey, who spent his first day as a Major Leaguer on Monday after 16 years in the Minors.
"This is a great moment for me and it hasn't sunk in," said Lindsey. "I'm here, but my brain hasn't caught up yet."
Lindsey's circuitous route to the Major Leagues includes stops with three other organizations (Colorado, Seattle and Florida), a couple years in independent ball and a near retirement.
He finally got the call after winning the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .353 average for Triple-A Albuquerque, slugging 25 homers with 97 RBIs in 107 games. He was called into manager Tim Wallach's office for a conference call with Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti for the good news.
"My knees kind of buckled," Lindsey said. "I couldn't believe it."
Lindsey did a SportsCenter interview Monday after receiving "a million texts" Sunday.
"My wife put it on Facebook and a lot of people are rooting for me," he said.
Lindsey said every time he didn't get called up, "It was like they were telling me I couldn't do it, but I'm hard-headed," he said. "I was stubborn and kept going."
Manager Joe Torre said he will use Lindsey mostly as a pinch-hitter, because his defense at first base is limited.
"The lesson is, never give up," Torre said. "It's a great story. We've been around a lot of players that things come easy to and don't really understand the other side of it."
Callup Mitchell intriguing to Dodgers
SAN DIEGO -- In addition to John Lindsey, the Dodgers added four players to the clubhouse Monday, and the one that might factor most for the future is corner infielder Russ Mitchell.
The others -- John Ely, Jon Link and Chin-lung Hu -- have all spent time with the Dodgers this year.
Mitchell was considered for a promotion a month ago, but Jay Gibbons got the nod instead. Now Mitchell is up and he's a player the staff is curious to see because of the way the scouting reports have read.
"He's very aggressive, a blue-collar hard-worker," said manager Joe Torre. "It's not always pretty, but he's a hard-nosed guy, a Casey Blake type."
Interesting name there, because with Blake, now 37 and not having his finest season, the Dodgers must decide this winter if it's time to transition Blake to a part-time or bench role, in which case they need an everyday third baseman.
Mitchell, 25, is primarily a corner infielder, although he also saw time at second base and the outfield. He was named the All-Pacific Coast League third baseman, hitting .315 with 23 home runs and 87 RBIs in 127 games. A year ago at Double-A Chattanooga, he hit only .241.
"I was disappointed in the way I played last year and I dedicated myself to the game in the offseason," said Mitchell. "I knew that wasn't me last year. I was very upset with my approach, I wasn't prepared when I showed up at the park. This year I showed what I can do and it's paid off."
Two weeks ago, it didn't seem that Ely would return, even though he went 3-1 in his first five starts with the Dodgers when he got the emergency callup early this year. He slumped with the Dodgers and shortly after arriving in Albuquerque got sick, lost 10 pounds and continued to struggle. Once healthy, he regained the weight and turned his season around.
Link has been on the shuttle, as this is his sixth callup this season. He has a 3.18 ERA in six games with the Dodgers and was 3-2 with a 3.71 ERA at Albuquerque.
Hu was a surprise promotion after missing two months healing from surgery for a torn thumb ligament. He got the call over Ivan DeJesus, but only because Juan Castro, who was re-signed last month, remained home to attend to an ailing family member.
To open a necessary roster spot, the Dodgers moved catcher Russell Martin from the 15- to 60-day disabled list.
DeJesus, four pitchers not promoted to LA
SAN DIEGO -- Clubs send a message with the players they call up in September.
DeJesus was drafted in the second round in 2005 as a shortstop, but he played second base this year, and scouts say his range and footwork around the bag need improvement, perhaps the aftereffects of the injury.
Sources also claim that DeJesus, the son of longtime Major Leaguer Ivan DeJesus, is in the doghouse because he has yet to grasp some of the subtleties of teamwork and game approach. He is scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League.
The Dodgers also did not call up pitchers Scott Elbert, Cory Wade, Brent Leach and Charlie Haeger.
Elbert, a former No. 1 pick, has been out since June with personal problems. Wade, a durable reliever on the 2008 National League West champion Dodgers, had a rough season once he returned from spring shoulder surgery. Leach, who appeared in 38 games for the Dodgers last year, split this season between Triple-A, where he relieved, and Double-A, where he worked on becoming a starter. Haeger, who opened the season as the Dodgers' fifth starter, struggled with the same lack of consistency at Triple-A as he did with the Dodgers.
Xavier Paul (neck injury) and Trayvon Robinson (oblique muscle) would have been candidates for promotion if healthy.
Torre shuffles middle of Dodgers' lineup
SAN DIEGO -- It might amount to rearranging the deck chairs, but after complaining about the inconsistency of the middle of the batting order, Dodgers manager Joe Torre shuffled it for Monday's series opener against the Padres.
Torre moved Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp from third and fourth to fifth and sixth, and moved James Loney and Casey Blake to third and fourth.
"I'm just trying to change something," said Torre. "Just moving the pieces around."
In Sunday's 3-0 loss to the Giants, Kemp and Ethier struck out three times each. Kemp hit .143 on the six-game homestand, Ethier hit .211. Blake hit .421 and Loney .313.
Ethier has hit .233 with 17 RBIs since the All-Star break, while Kemp has hit .236 with 23 RBIs.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.