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08/27/08 8:10 PM ET
Dodgers recall DeWitt from Las Vegas
Infielder becomes top backup at second and third base
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- The Dodgers made one roster move on Wednesday but held off on another by calling up infielder Blake DeWitt and waiting to activate reliever Cory Wade from the disabled list for at least another day. Infielder Pablo Ozuna was designated for assignment to make room for DeWitt five days before DeWitt would have been back as a September callup. "I think he just gives us a little more depth as far as another bat off the bench," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "The only thing we lose in the exchange is probably the speed factor." DeWitt, Los Angeles' Opening Day third baseman who hit .257 with five homers and 35 RBIs in 88 games in the Majors earlier in the season, has been exclusively playing second base for Triple-A Las Vegas and working at the position with Minor League infield coordinator Matt Martin. Torre said DeWitt is doing "OK" at second and is more comfortable at third, but he will become the primary backup for Jeff Kent at second and Casey Blake at third. "This is where you want to be," DeWitt said. "This is where you work to be. It's a good feeling." DeWitt slumped at the plate at the end of his previous stay in the big leagues, hitting .200 with no homers and six RBIs in 125 at-bats in June and July. He went 16 games without an extra-base hit near the end of that stretch. However, DeWitt has started to tear the cover off the ball in Vegas, hitting 11-for-19 (.579) with three doubles, a triple, two homers, eight RBIs and seven runs scored in his past four games, a hot streak that included a 5-for-5 game and a two-homer day. He hit .303 with four homers and 18 RBIs overall in his 26 Minor League games. "I swung the bat pretty good down there pretty much the whole time," DeWitt said. "I had a good approach. Things started clicking the last week. I was really feeling good at the plate, and hopefully, I'll just continue with that same approach." The Dodgers had pegged Wednesday as the day Wade (right shoulder inflammation) would come off the disabled list, a possibility because Wade said he felt fine in the clubhouse before Wednesday's game. Torre had even gone so far as to tell Tanyon Sturtze he would be the corresponding move before the Dodgers decided to hold off. Torre said the Dodgers have a couple options for the corresponding move and wanted to see how much relief his club would need in support of Wednesday's starter Greg Maddux, who often does not pitch deep into games. "The whole thing about it is doing it with somebody you don't get back and doing it with somebody you can get back, and that's when we started sort of adding another element to it," Torre said. "We were just thinking in terms of a couple other pitchers, and then we added another guy to the mix, and that's sort of got us on hold." Sturtze would have to be designated for assignment if he were the move, but the Dodgers could send down a player with options such as Ramon Troncoso and get him back when rosters expand in September.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.