Tonight, the Dodgers and the Padres play the rubber match of their opening series. One of the biggest headlines of the series so far has been Seth Smith‘s torrid start. After hitting a pinch-hit homerun off of an injured Brian Wilson on Sunday evening, Smith went 2-3 with a home run and a walk last night. After his first five plate appearances, his hitting line is .750/.800/2.250. According to Fangraphs, he’s produced 3.3 runs of offensive value so far this season. He’s produced 28.8 for his career, so he’s boosted his career offensive value by 11% in the first two games of the season.
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Starts like this aren’t uncommon; one or two players manage it every year. After two games last season, Matt Weiters was batting .667/.800/2.000, and Mike Morse was batting .500/.400/2.000. Of course, it’s way too early in the season to say if Smith is any better (or worse) than he has been in the past. These are “fun facts” more than analysis. Smith remains in the lineup tonight, so the Dodgers are hoping that he’ll cool off a bit.
Today also brought along some organizational news. Brian Wilson was officially added to the disabled list with “ulnar nerve inflammation.” That sounds bad, especially for somebody with Wilson’s injury history. For what it’s worth, Wilson is claiming that the injury is not serious, but at this point we all know how accurate the Dodgers are in describing injury severity to the media.
In order to fill Wilson’s spot on the roster, Jose Dominguez was recalled from Albuquerque. Dominguez’ presence in the majors will likely be short-lived, as the Dodgers are currently carrying eight relievers and four starting pitchers. A spot will need to be cleared for Matt Kemp‘s potential activation on Friday, though optioning Mike Baxter is the most likely corresponding move for that transaction. It is more likely that Dominguez will remain on the roster until Josh Beckett is activated. Beckett will make a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday (bumping Julio Urias, who was previously scheduled to start), so Dominguez will probably last the weekend.
The Dodgers also claimed infielder Carlos Triunfel off of waivers earlier this afternoon. The Mariners designated Triunfel for assignment after he failed to make their opening day roster. Triunfel was once an extremely promising prospect, ranking in Baseball America’s top 100 prospects in 2008 and 2009. He missed almost all of 2009 after breaking his leg, derailing his progress as a prospect. He never produced an above-average hitting line in the PCL and has hit just .167/.188/.212 in 71 major league plate appearances.
Triunfel is primarly a middle infielder, where the organization lacks depth. He is known as an okay defender, perhaps a bit better than average at second or third but not at short. His best tool, by far, is his arm. Baseball America has listed him as the Mariners’ best infield arm for the last seven years in a row. Here’s a video of that arm in action:
Triunfel was optioned to Albuquerque after being acquired. He will likely fill in at second base while Alex Guerrero heals from his oblique injury. He’s more of a depth pick-up than anything else, and he will probably be one of the first players on the chopping block if the Dodgers need to add somebody else to the 40-man roster, which is now full.