Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Green gets call over Hu
By Tony Jackson
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' decision to purchase the contract of veteran infielder Nick Green from Triple-A Albuquerque rather than simply recalling Chin-lung Hu to take the roster spot of Rafael Furcal -- who was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday -- had more to do with the language in Green's minor league contract than the less-than-stellar offensive numbers Green was putting up.
Green agreed to waive the first of two escape clauses in his deal and go to Albuquerque when he failed to make the major league club out of spring training. But the second escape clause would have kicked in on May 15, and if Green hadn't received a big league callup by then, he probably would have bolted.
Green, 31, who played in 103 games for the Boston Red Sox last season, was hitting .219 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 20 games for the Isotopes.
"When we signed Nick Green, it was for situations like this," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "If one of our infielders went on the DL, we needed somebody with big-league experience. This is the situation we signed him for, and this is the situation we are in."
Green probably can't count on a lot of playing time. Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Jamey Carroll will remain the primary shortstop while Furcal is out.
As for Furcal, the move was made retroactive to Wednesday. That means he will be eligible to return on May 13, which is an off day, and play for the first time on May 14 at San Diego. Furcal hasn't played since straining his left hamstring running out a double-play grounder on April 27 at New York. While he still is said to be improving, Torre said the rate of that improvement has slowed down, leading to Furcal's going onto the DL.
Wolf won't speculate
Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Randy Wolf, who won't face the Dodgers in this week's three-game series, said he still doesn't know whether he would have accepted an offer of arbitration from the Dodgers last winter after he went 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA for them last season and became their best starting pitcher down the stretch.
"I have no idea," Wolf said before Tuesday night's series opener. "I don't live in a hypothetical world, and I can't answer hypothetical questions."
Wolf, who played at El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills and Pepperdine University and now lives in Hollywood, accepted a one-year, $5 million contract last year to return to the Dodgers, for whom he also had pitched in 2007. But he was seeking a longer-term deal after the season, and he eventually got it from the Brewers, a three-year, $29.75 million deal.
If Wolf had rejected the Dodgers' arbitration offer, the Dodgers would have received two compensatory draft picks from the Brewers in this year's amateur draft. But there was a strong chance Wolf, who wanted to stay in his hometown, would have accepted arbitration and then tried to negotiate a comparable three-year deal with the Dodgers to avoid a hearing.
Even if he had accepted arbitration and no deal had been reached before the sides went to a hearing, the worst Wolf could have hoped for was a one-year deal and a huge raise, probably to about $13 million. Two pitchers who almost certainly would have been used as statistical comparables in such a hearing are Atlanta's Derek Lowe, whose present contract has an average annual value of $15 million, and the New York Mets' Oliver Perez ($12 million). Wolf would have fallen somewhere in between.
So while the Dodgers have been widely panned for their failure to re-sign Wolf, with the popular public opinion being that it was because the team's finances were tied up in owner Frank McCourt's ongoing divorce, it had at least something to do with the fact that Wolf is 33 and has had only one season in his 11-year, major league career in which he has won more than 12 games. The Dodgers simply didn't want to commit that kind of money to Wolf, whether they had it available or not.
As for the public outcry about the team's failure to re-sign him, Wolf found it slightly disconcerting to be at the center of it.
"I don't think I ever wanted to be a muse for misery," he said. "Of course I heard about it. People ask me about it all the time. But I really don't have an opinion."
It's Manny's choice
Torre said Manny Ramirez would be the one to decide whether his minor league rehabilitation assignment with high Single-A Inland Empire, which was set to begin Tuesday night at Lake Elsinore, would be one, two or three games. Ramirez, who is battling a right-calf strain, is eligible for activation Saturday.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.