No surprise here: Casey Blake is headed to the disabled list, with Russ Mitchell called up to replace him, reports Ken Rosenthal. (h/t Rob @ 6-4-2.) Blake’s infection sounds particularly nasty, according to friends Marc Normandin and Corey Dawkins at Baseball Prospectus:
Infections can be rather serious—just ask Casey Blake, who was placed on the disabled list with an infection of the olecranon bursa in his left elbow. His was serious enough to require IV antibiotics, and he may require minor surgery to drain and clean the area out.
The Dodgers are expecting Blake to miss about three to four weeks and will be conservative in bringing him back, so as not to risk a recurrence. Because of the location of the bursa, it is susceptible to re-injury during the course of a baseball game by sliding and landing on the elbow.
I suppose Blake isn’t going to be the one to break the sorry streak of 37+ third basemen, as I surmised last September. Still, while Blake certainly wasn’t going to keep up the .321/.446/.509 run he was on (in only 66 plate appearances, of course), his loss is pretty damaging to a club that regularly rolls out a lineup that features 3-4 players hitting .220 or less. With Rafael Furcal also disabled and Juan Uribe at much less than full strength, you can look forward to a lot of underwhelming infield configurations over the next few weeks.
As for Mitchell, it’s no secret that I’m not a fan, claiming last September that his mostly underwhelming minor league career was inflated only by the friendly confines of Albuquerque. He didn’t do much to change that impression in September, getting just six hits in 43 plate appearances. Beyond that, ABQ hasn’t been nearly as friendly to him so far this year, as his line stands at .214/.281/.393 thus far. Still, injury concerns being what they are, there’s nothing wrong with his recall, particularly because he’s the only other infielder on the 40-man roster. (And calm down with the Corey Smith love just yet, friends.) Mitchell’s probably not going to contribute much at the plate, and at 26 isn’t really a prospect, but his defensive versatility should come in handy for the next few weeks. If anything, at least he’s an extra bat on the bench, which had been woefully short with Blake and Uribe active but unavailable in recent days.