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04/24/08 9:32 PM ET

DeWitt sent down as Wade is called up

Opening Day third baseman odd man out in lieu of pitching

LOS ANGELES -- Blake DeWitt's magical ride came to at least a temporary ending on Thursday, when he was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room on the roster for right-handed reliever Cory Wade.

Wade is known as a strike-thrower, but that also means he's around the plate enough to get hit and his stats back that up -- 14 hits (including three homers) allowed in 14 2/3 innings with 13 strikeouts, one walk and a 4.30 ERA for Double-A Jacksonville.

Wade said he got the call in the early morning hours, was told he was "going up" and had absolutely no clue it was coming, nor did he immediately realize where he was going.

"I assumed I was going to Vegas [Triple-A]," he said. "They said, 'No, the big leagues.' Oh, OK."

The Dodgers felt they needed a 12th pitcher because of the havoc caused by Derek Lowe's five-inning start on Thursday (Takashi Saito and Jonathan Broxton combined to throw one fewer pitch than Lowe's 67) and coming out on the short end was DeWitt, the Opening Day starting third baseman.

DeWitt, 22, was in Minor League camp six weeks ago, but injuries to Nomar Garciaparra, Andy LaRoche and Tony Abreu provided an opening at third base and DeWitt charged right through, impressing the staff enough to make the Opening Day lineup.

He started 15 games until Garciaparra returned, hitting .255 with more walks than strikeouts and only one error, but also showing little power (no homers, five RBIs in 51 at-bats). Chin-lung Hu, a middle infielder not comfortable at third base, nonetheless becomes Garciaparra's backup for now.

"I learned a lot of things I never realized I would have learned," said DeWitt. "Stuff that makes a big difference to win a game. It was a learning experience and it's been great. The team needs Nomar healthy. He brings a lot to the team. I just came to the park every day ready to play."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.