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.
|San Diego Padres|
|May 31, 2013||Yonder Alonso||Day-to-Day||Bruised hand|
|May 30, 2013||Huston Street||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|May 05, 2013||Clayton Richard||15-Day DL||Intestinal virus|
|May 05, 2013||Clayton Richard||15-Day DL||Intestinal virus|
|May 03, 2013||Carlos Quentin||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|April 21, 2013||Kyle Blanks||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left shoulder injury|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|June 02, 2013||Hyun-Jin Ryu||Day-to-Day||Sore foot|
|May 30, 2013||A.J. Ellis||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|May 30, 2013||Matt Kemp||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 29, 2013||Matt Kemp||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|May 26, 2013||Scott Van Slyke||Day-to-Day||Neck whiplash|
|May 14, 2013||Josh Beckett||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Yasiel Puig lived up to the hype in his major league debut, and then some.
Puig had two singles and made a strong throw from right field to first to complete a game-ending double play, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Monday night.
"Storybook," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke homered for last-place Los Angeles, which had lost two in a row. Stephen Fife allowed one run and five hits in 5 1-3 innings to earn his first major league win.
Puig batted leadoff and singled in his first at-bat, drawing high-fives from his new teammates. The 22-year-old Cuban defector was brought up the same day left fielder Carl Crawford went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring.
After the game, the ball from Puig's first single was in a plastic bag with the date and description labeled in black marker. It was stashed in a half-opened drawer in his locker.
"Impressive," marveled infielder Luis Cruz .
San Diego got the potential tying run on first in the ninth when Brandon League walked Chris Denorfia with one out. But Kyle Blanks flied out to right and Puig fired to first to get Denorfia.
"I'm going to do little things on the field to help the team even when I'm not hitting," Puig said through a translator.
He took a curtain call after the game, obliging the cheering fans.
"I thank the fans for coming out and being here," he said. "I know there's a lot of people in Cuba cheering for me. I'm very happy."
The Dodgers had lost six of their previous 10 games, and as the ball flew Blanks' bat and went high in the air, Mattingly couldn't help but anticipate the worst.
"I'm thinking that ball is going out of the ballpark the way things have been going," he said.
But Puig caught it and made an on-target throw to first standing about a step from the wall.
"With all the hype, it's really just amazing the game ends like that," Mattingly said. "Yeah, it surprised me, but that's Hollywood."
Padres manager Bud Black was impressed, too.
"You don't see that play very often," he said. "Deno reacted well, hustled back, but I think the play was made by the strength of the arm and the accuracy of the throw."
Puig signed a $42 million, seven-year contract with the Dodgers last June. He showed promise in spring training, hitting .517 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 27 games before he was sent to the minors.
"He's an energetic guy, eager to get on the field, loves the game and always has a smile on his face," Gonzalez said. "We all know he's got a great arm."
Fife (1-0) struck out five and walked two. The right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier in the day to replace left-hander Chris Capuano , who was scratched because of a strained left triceps.
"Seven tries and finally got one," he said, with a ball noting his first big league win in his locker. "It was jitters to start the game with a leadoff walk. The first double play in the first inning kind of settled me in."
Fife made the second consecutive spot start for the injury-riddled Dodgers after Matt Magill filled in for Hyun-Jin Ryu in Sunday's 7-2 loss at Colorado. The 26-year-old right-hander made one previous start for Los Angeles on April 21 against Baltimore, resulting in a no-decision.
He then went on the DL with right shoulder bursitis before making one rehab start.
League pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances.
Left-hander Eric Stults (4-5) pitched seven solid innings, but was saddled with the hard-luck loss.
Gonzalez hit his team-leading eighth homer into the Padres' bullpen with two outs in the first inning. Van Slyke made it 2-0 in the second with a leadoff homer.
The Padres cut it to 2-1 in the sixth on Chase Headley 's RBI single that scored Alexi Amarista , who doubled. They had won five straight games at Dodger Stadium dating to last season, including a three-game sweep from April 15-17.
The Padres also threatened in the eighth when Everth Cabrera singled and stole second with one out. But Kenley Jansen retired the next two batters to end the inning.
NOTES: Dodgers INF Hanley Ramirez made his third rehab start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, playing six innings at shortstop and going 1 for 3 with a double. He could return to club on Tuesday. ... The Dodgers improved to 6-9 in one-run games. ... The Dodgers turned four double plays, while the Padres had two. ... Padres OF Carlos Quentin was nursing a sore right shoulder after running into the wall on Sunday. Manager Bud Black said he likely would return to the lineup on Tuesday or Wednesday. Quentin has yet to face the Dodgers since he charged the mound and confronted Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke on April 11. Greinke broke his collarbone and Quentin was suspended eight games. ... Padres INF Yonder Alonso is regaining strength in his right hand and could be back in action later this week. He was hit on the hand by a pitch on Friday. ... Former Dodgers OF Milton Bradley was convicted Monday of nine misdemeanor counts of abusing his estranged wife, including assault with a deadly weapon. He faces up to 7 1/2 years in jail at his July 2 sentencing in Los Angeles.