Yasiel Puig sits, Scott Van Slyke optioned, Stephen Fife starts

Yasiel Puig and his sore hand were out of the lineup Sunday, which sounds kind of scary but probably isn’t.

The Dodgers must think it’s a fairly minor injury, because before their game against the Cubs, they optioned outfielder Scott Van Slyke so they could call up pitcher Stephen Fife to start in Chicago.

Puig, who injured the hand diving to make a catch Saturday, may actually miss only Sunday’s start. Manager Don Mattingly said he expects Puig to start Monday when the Dodgers open a four-game series in St. Louis.

So Sunday’s absence aside, that’s about the best news that could be expected on Puig.

Fife is not replacing anyone in the rotation, but temporarily giving them six starters. The thought is to just give the other five a little extra rest during the middle of the summer.

When the Dodgers traded for Ricky Nolasco, they placed Fife on the 15-day disabled list for a second time this season with shoulder bursitis. Fife, however, had been pitching very well (3-3, 2.37 earned-run average, 1.27 WHIP in eight starts) and if Chris Capuano had not turned things around, there was speculation Fife would replace him in the rotation.

By sending Van Slyke down, the Dodgers are counting on a speedy return by Puig. Barring injury, Van Slyke cannot be called back up for at least 10 days, and he was their fourth outfielder.

Utilityman Skip Schumaker is starting in right Sunday in the series finale against the Cubs.



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