LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday because of necessity, not merit. The right-hander, who was sent to the minor leagues for the first time in two years on July 3 because he was struggling so badly, wasn't much better when he got there.
Troncoso posted a 6.91 ERA in 10 appearances for the Isotopes and was charged with at least one earned run in six of those appearances.
"It was OK, just OK," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said after Troncoso was recalled to take the roster spot of reliever Jeff Weaver, who was put on the 15-day disabled list because of left knee tendinitis. "We'll see. Maybe back here, he can sort of find that thing he had earlier this year and last year too."
Troncoso began the season as one of the Dodgers' most reliable relievers, posting a 3.48 ERA over his first 22 appearances through May 18. But the next day, he relieved Ramon Ortiz on the fourth inning of a lopsided loss to the San Diego Padres and faced three batters, giving up a single to David Eckstein and back-to-back home runs to Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley, before Torre yanked him with Troncoso having failed to retire a batter.
Troncoso never seemed to recover from that, posting a 7.31 ERA over 17 appearances before the Dodgers finally sent him down.
Torre OK with Weaver
Torre said he wasn't upset with Weaver for not alerting either the medical or coaching staff to the discomfort he was feeling in his left knee until after he was lit up for five runs over two innings by the Padres on Monday night.
Weaver is 33 and in his 11th major league season.
"You don't know what he is dealing with on a regular basis," Torre said. "He has pitched effectively with it at times, but over time, it's going to get to you. When it starts affecting your performance, that is when we need to know. Guys like Weave have been around for a while. He knows his body and when he can and can't do stuff."
Weaver said there was a time when he could have pitched through something like this without having it adversely affect him on the mound.
"I have always taken pride in my durability," he said. "You never want to say age is an issue, but there are definitely some different things I have to deal with as the years go on."
A day after a baserunning gaffe cost the Dodgers a run in the first inning of a lopsided loss to the Padres, Torre continued to point out that James Loney, the trail runner who was thrown out at third base trying to take two bases on Casey Blake's single, was as much to blame as Matt Kemp, the lead runner who slowed up around third and didn't cross home plate until a split second after Loney was called out.
Torre also said when it became clear Loney wasn't going to make it to third, instead of sliding into the tag, he should have stopped and engaged the Padres in a rundown.
"Something we always pay a lot of attention to in the spring is baserunning drills," Torre said. "A lot of it is beyond baserunning. A lot of it is just common sense. In Matt's case, did he run full-bore? No, but they weren't going to throw him out. I talked to James a couple of times during the game, and he said, 'I made up my mind too soon.' But that being the case, he has to know where the guy in front of him is. If you're going to get thrown out, you have to make sure it's after [Kemp] crosses the plate."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.