The first of September arrived and the Dodgers wasted no time in calling up reserves.
They leave after Sunday afternoon’s game against the Padres for Denver, but fresh troops arrived in Los Angeles immediately, not bothering to wait and join the team in Colorado, as newbie Dodger Michael Young will.
Five arrived from triple-A Albuquerque, four of the familiar variety. In the clubhouse in time for Sunday’s game were right-handers Stephen Fife and Peter Moylan, infielder Dee Gordon, outfielder Scott Van Slyke and catcher Drew Butera.
These aren’t players who figure to get a lot of time in September, but allow depth to give others possible time off.
Butera has appeared in 186 games for the Twins over the last four seasons, but would be making his debut with the Dodgers. The other four have been up this season with the Dodgers.
Fife has started nine games for the Dodgers this season, going 4-3 with a 2.47 ERA.
But he struggled in his last stint with the Isotopes. They tried using him in the bullpen for two games in case he was needed in that role later with the Dodgers, but in two appearances gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in four innings.
“That was a mental thing,” Fife said. “The mentality of the ’pen is like two different worlds. There’s nothing that’s really the same. As a reliever, I didn’t know what to expect because I had never done it really.”
Fife returned to Albuquerque’s rotation, but his struggles continued in three starts (12 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings). Fife said Albuquerque pitching coach Glenn Dishman noticed a mechanical problem he had developed and believes it has been corrected.
Fife said he has not heard anything from the Dodgers yet on how they plan to use him this September, though Mattingly said it was more likely he would be used as a starter.
But since Fife was last here, the Dodgers have added Volquez and have made it clear they would like to find a spot start for him to evaluate his effectiveness.
“I think he’s first priority in terms of getting some work,” Fife said. “Whatever they decide, that’s fine with me. I’m just here to help this team win in any way.
“If I have to throw [simulated] games to let guys get extra [at-bats] and that’s my contribution this month, then that’s the way it goes. Nobody’s said that, but I’d be more than willing to throw four innings to guys at 4 o’clock to some guys who need abs, I’d do it.”