PHOENIX -- In a widely anticipated move, the Los Angeles Dodgers have placed struggling knuckleballer Charlie Haeger on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and recalled rookie right-hander John Ely from Triple-A Albuquerque. Ely will start Tuesday night's game at Arizona.
Haeger's future with the organization, and indeed his future as a major league pitcher, became muddled after he started Saturday night's game against Colorado and failed to record a single out before being lifted five batters into the game. All five of those batters scored, leaving Haeger with an 0-4 record and an 8.49 ERA. Dodgers manager Joe Torre told reporters on Sunday morning that Haeger was having a problem with his heel.
If Haeger, who is out of minor league options, had simply been designated for assignment, the Dodgers couldn't have recalled Ely, who started on Thursday night against Milwaukee and was outstanding over 6 2/3 innings. Ely was optioned to Albuquerque the following day, and players optioned to the minors must stay there a minimum of 10 days before being recalled unless a similar player (pitcher for pitcher, position player for position player) on the major league roster is placed on the disabled list.
Ely never went to Albuquerque. Players who are sent to the minors are allowed, as a condition of baseball's Basic Agreement, to take up to 72 hours to report. Most of the time, players are encouraged to show up as quickly as possible. But Ely said the Dodgers stressed the fact that he had three days to get there.
"I just kind of hung out for a couple of days,'' Ely said. "I had some things to take care of. They told me right after [Sunday's] game.''
One Dodgers source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ely actually did visit the Dodgers' San Bernardino-based Inland Empire affiliate to throw his regular, between-starts side session, an indication he might have had no intention of ever going to Albuquerque.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.