After two scoreless innings in his debut last night, Jon Link is headed back to Albuquerque, with Ronald Belisario almost certainly being activated today to take his place. Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times sensibly asks why Link was sent down, yet Ramon Ortiz remains. Link, after all, is young and had a nice debut, while Ortiz is, well, Ramon Ortiz. Yet, I can actually see the logic here. This roster spot – Ortiz or Link - is almost certainly going to go away in the next 2-3 days once Hong-Chih Kuo comes back. If Link’s not available today after throwing two innings yesterday, why not keep the pitcher who can go today (even if it is Ramon Ortiz) while sending the kid back to the minors on a huge high? I get it. (Update: as Sam points out in the comments, Ortiz threw two innings yesterday as well. But who cares if you destroy his arm at this point?)
Fun fact, though: who’s more valuable to the pitching-starved, offense-crazy 2010 Dodgers today? Link’s two scoreless and hitless innings, or the man he was traded for, currently rocking a .192/.263/.192 line in Chicago? That trade looks like a bigger win every day.
In other news, the results of the Chad Billingsley poll from yesterday are in, and with 249 votes, “Let him pitch through it” was the winner, at 46%. “Send him to the minors” (which is sort of a trick question, because I don’t believe that’s doable without exposing him to waivers) came in a distant second, at 20%. This is, of course, the right answer. While you can’t keep running him out there forever, now is not the time to replace him. It’s only been three starts, and the first one was very good. Besides, who are you really replacing him with right now, James McDonald?
Billingsley may or may not turn it around this year. But with the way the rest of the rotation looks, the Dodgers almost certainly aren’t going anywhere unless he does, so denying him the chance to do so in mid-April is just hurting the team in the long run.