With their major leaguers struggling and banged up, the Los Angeles Dodgers are turning to the minors for some help.
Top prospect Yasiel Puig will be recalled prior to Monday night's contest, and pitcher Stephen Fife likely will start in place of the injured Chris Capuano as Los Angeles looks to avoid a fifth loss in six games against the visiting San Diego Padres.
The seemingly constant problems for the last-place, underachieving Dodgers (23-32) have been well documented as manager Don Mattingly's job security continues to be called into question.
Los Angeles fell 7-2 at Colorado on Sunday, giving up five unanswered runs following Skip Schumaker's two-run double in the second inning. Its 195 runs are second-fewest in the NL, and its .233 average with runners in scoring position ranks 26th in the majors.
Hoping to spark the offense, the Dodgers have decided to bring up the 22-year-old Puig, who signed a seven-year, $42 million deal last summer after defecting from Cuba.
Puig played well in spring training and was hitting .313 with eight homers and 37 RBIs for Double-A Chattanooga. Mattingly isn't sure if Puig will play right or center field, and it's unclear if he'll make his debut in this contest.
''He's got power. He's got speed. He's got an arm,'' Mattingly told the team's official website. ''It's a tooled-up package, but then on the back side of that, you still say it's a young player. You don't want to build him up to the point where it's impossible to live up to expectations.
"The fact that we'll play him and he'll get at-bats makes it a lot easier for me."
Los Angeles also could need a second spot start from Fife (0-0, 7.71 ERA), who allowed four runs in 4 2-3 innings of Los Angeles' 7-4 win April 21 at Baltimore. The right-hander was scheduled to start for Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday but was held back with Capuano bothered by a strained triceps muscle.
"As a player I want to be out there, but I don't want to put the team in a bad spot," Capuano said. "It's a very, very hard line to walk."
The Dodgers will look to avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the Padres (26-30), who had won four of five before falling 7-4 in 11 innings to Toronto on Sunday.
San Diego looks to bounce back behind Eric Stults, who has been solid of late.
Stults (4-4, 3.86) is 2-2 with a 2.66 ERA over his last six starts and is coming off his best outing of the season, allowing one run and three hits while striking out a career-high 12 in eight innings of San Diego's 3-2, 10-inning win over Seattle on Wednesday.
''Eric pitched brilliantly,'' manager Bud Black said. ''Stults has pitched some very good games for us, but I don't know how you throw any better. All four pitches were effective and were thrown with excellent command. That was impressive.''
Stults spent his first four seasons with the Dodgers, going 8-10 with a 4.84 ERA in 24 starts and 11 relief appearances.
The left-hander has split two starts against his former team this year, giving up seven runs and 17 hits in 11 innings. He allowed three runs in six innings of a 6-3 victory in the most recent outing April 15.
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- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Diego Padres
- Los Angeles
- Yasiel Puig
- Chris Capuano
- Don Mattingly