Not that I really expected Mark Ellis back any time soon considering how lengthy his injury history is and how bad the slide that took him out on Friday looked, but I also didn’t expect to hear the words “urgent procedure”, either:
Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis underwent an “urgent” procedure on his left leg Saturday and will be sidelined at least six weeks, trainer Sue Falsone said after the club’s win over the Cardinals. Ellis exited Friday’s game when he was upended on a hard slide by St. Louis second baseman Tyler Greene.
On Saturday, Ellis underwent a fasciotomy, which team doctors said drained blood and fluid from a contusion in his lower left leg, relieving tension and pressure in the leg. Ellis will remain hospitalized until Tuesday.
Ellis had been surprisingly effective so far this year, combining excellent defense with solid on-base skills, so this presents another hit to a Dodger lineup that’s already been torn apart by injuries. With Jerry Hairston sidelined at least through Wednesday, Juan Uribe scheduled to see a wrist specialist with no return date planned, and Dee Gordon benched due to ineffectiveness, the Dodgers now have a 2B/SS/3B rotation of Elian Herrera, Justin Sellers, Ivan De Jesus, & Adam Kennedy. Considering that first baseman James Loney is hardly Joey Votto – though it should be noted that Loney has been better of late, hitting .368 over his last 11 games – it’s potentially the the weakest infield rotation in baseball, yet the Dodgers continue to get the right contributions at the right time and win. I love it, yet I absolutely cannot explain it.
The injury situation is so severe that if you look at the depth chart, you’ll see that they have just two remaining healthy position players on the 40-man roster, catcher Tim Federowicz & outfielder Matt Angle, which only serves to remind me that Alex Castellanos is really, really missing his chance by having been out for nearly a month now with a hamstring injury. (Aaron Miles may soon be an option as well, given that he made his debut with the Isotopes last night.)
For now, I expect that second base will be a combination of Herrera & De Jesus, who may be looking at his absolute last chance to make an impression with the Dodgers. Shortstop has to be Sellers, at least until Gordon is deemed ready to play – or is farmed out, which is another discussion entirely – and third would be manned by Kennedy & Herrera. When Hairston returns, I imagine he might be the everyday third baseman, though he could also see time at second or simply push Kennedy back to the keystone.
Still, the rash of injuries has suddenly made it clear that adding power to first base or left field may not be the highest priority anymore. Ellis, Hairston, & Uribe all came to the Dodgers with lengthy injuries, and it’s hard to think that they can be relied upon with certainty even upon their returns; Gordon has yet to prove he’s a big league shortstop. If the Dodgers envision themselves contenders – and I think they should, considering that they need only go .500 to end up at 88-74 and in the thick of the race – upgrading their infield depth once the trading season gets going may need to be at the top of their list.