Casey Blake is batting second in return from disabled list

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Casey Blake is off the disabled list and in the Dodgers’ lineup for today’s game after beginning the season on the sidelines with a back injury suffered in the middle of spring training.

Blake is starting at third base and batting second, and his return also means the Dodgers have shifted Juan Uribe to second base while putting Jamey Carroll back on the bench.

Don Mattingley’s decision to bat Blake second is an odd one, as he had a below-average .320 on-base percentage last year and has a modest .336 career OBP. Blake has hit second in 17 percent of his career plate appearances, but hasn’t done so regularly since 2007 and has a .317 OBP in that spot. And needless to say he’s not a particularly speedy runner at age 37.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.