The Pirates announced this morning that they acquired infielder Justin Sellers from the Indians for cash considerations.
Sellers, 28, appeared in 17 games with the Indians this past season and batted .254/.307/.335 with three home runs and 40 RBI over 102 games in Triple-A. He owns a .198/.280/.294 batting line over 287 plate appearances in the majors, mostly with the Dodgers. Known for his solid glove, he’s strictly middle infield depth for the 40-man roster.
Along with the announcement on Sellers, the Pirates designated right-handers John Axford and Jeanmar Gomez for assignment.
Adrian Gonzalez is not in tonight’s lineup for their match-up against the Giants tonight due to neck pain. Neck pain caused by an umpire, according to Ken Gurnick.
Gonzalez’s absence forces Jerry Hairston to move from left field to first base, and Skip Schumaker from the bench to left. They will play tonight’s game with just three healthy bench players: Justin Sellers, Juan Uribe, and Ramon Hernandez. They currently have seven players on the disabled list and are dealing with the day-to-day status of Carl Crawford — out of the lineup tonight due to a hamstring injury — and Juan Uribe as well.
As for the Dodger first baseman, Gonzalez is enjoying lots of success thus far, carrying a .330 average in 112 trips to the dish.
While the Dodgers could be without Mark Ellis for a while, Hanley Ramirez’s return is right around the corner.
According to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, Ramirez is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment today with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. His rehab stint is expected to consist of at least three games, but he could be activated as soon as Tuesday against the Rockies if all goes well. Tuesday has been his stated goal for a few weeks now, as it is Hanley Ramirez bobblehead day at Dodger Stadium. Hey, whatever works.
Ramirez required surgery after he tore the ligament in his right thumb in the World Baseball Classic title game on March 19. He was originally expected to miss around eight weeks, so he’s on pace to return well ahead of schedule.
Ramirez, 29, batted .257/.322/.437 with 24 home runs, 92 RBI, 21 stolen bases and a .759 OPS in 157 games last season between Los Angeles and Miami. Justin Sellers has drawn the majority of the starts at shortstop during his absence.
Hanley Ramirez told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles last Tuesday that he was going to return from the disabled list “way sooner” than expected. And it appears he wasn’t being overly optimistic.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Ramirez is on track to embark on a minor league rehab assignment next week and is hoping to join the Dodgers after just three games on the farm.
Hanley was given an eight-week rehabilitation timetable when he tore a ligament in his right thumb while playing third base for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He had surgery on March 22 and should be ready for activation by the second week of May. That’s a pretty remarkable recovery for a guy often labeled as apathetic.
The Dodgers have been using Justin Sellers and Luis Cruz at shortstop in Hanley’s absence.
From Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
The Dodgers originally thought Ramirez would be out until late May, but he has begun taking batting practice and fielding grounders. The team has outfitted him with a special splint to protect his surgically repaired right thumb that allows him to throw.
“It’s awesome. No pain, nothing,” Ramirez said. “Definitely it’s going to happen way sooner than it’s supposed to.”
The Dodgers have not confirmed that Hanley is ahead of schedule, but they’re also not denying it.
Ramirez fractured his right thumb on March 19 while playing for his native Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He underwent surgery to repair the broken bone on March 22.
Filling in for the Dodgers at shortstop has been Justin Sellers, who carried a brutal .176/.263/.265 batting line into Tuesday night’s game against the Padres. Getting Ramirez back early would be huge.