L.A. on Navarro: 'Philosophical Differences

Dioner Navarro's batting average was below .200 for most of this season, yet he continued to remain on the roster and split the playing time with Rod Barajas. On Tuesday, now that Barajas is healthy and available to start, the Dodgers designated Navarro for assignment, citing "philosophical differences."

"I didn't think he was the right guy for this team right now and what we're trying to do," manager Don Mattingly said. "He didn't fit into that. Obviously, the performance under .200, but he didn't fit into my beliefs, the way you go about it, and that means he didn't fit into Ned (Colletti's) beliefs also. Philosophical differences."

Coincidence or not, Barajas hit two home runs and drove in four runs Tuesday en route to a 13-2 victory over the Cardinals that gave Clayton Kershaw his 16th win. It was the seventh time the Dodgers have scored 10 or more runs this year, and all have been on the road.

Mattingly never publicly questioned Navarro's game-calling this season. But on a handful of occasions, Mattingly complimented Barajas and A.J. Ellis, who was called up back to the majors Tuesday, and noticeably excluded Navarro.

Earlier on this road trip in Milwaukee, Navarro tried to backhand a couple of pitches that got past him, rather than moving his body. That led to an insurance run in an eventual 3-1 loss.

In his last start Sunday, Navarro went 0-for-4, struck out three times, allowed a passed ball, and a throwing error led to an unearned run in a two-run loss.

"(It was) time for a change," general manager Ned Colletti told reporters in St. Louis. "Part of it is to look at A.J., and this gives Dioner a chance to catch on with a team in the race if such has interest."

Navarro, signed for $1 million this offseason to be Barajas' backup, provided the game-winning RBI three times in the latter third of 1-0 victories but didn't do much else offensively. He was an All-Star in 2008 with the Rays, but he batted .218 in 2009, .194 last year, and his slash line this year was .193/.276/.324 in 176 at-bats.

Barajas hit a solo home run in the third inning Tuesday for an 8-0 lead, a three-run blast in the fifth made it 11-0, and he added a ground-rule double in the seventh. He has hit 14 homers this year (second most on the team) and has four in his last four starts.

But how much will Barajas play come September? The Dodgers are expected to call up Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Albuquerque. Federowicz was the key player, out of three, in a July 31 trade for highly regarded outfield prospect Trayvon Robinson.

The Dodgers are likely to start Ellis and Federowicz in September as they evaluate each player and make decisions about next season. "This gives A.J. an opportunity to play more and not be just a September call-up," Colletti said. "What he does in the next 5-6 weeks will give us a better indication of how we are (at catcher). We're still a little bit thin, but stronger than we were a month ago."

NOTES, QUOTES
--LHP Clayton Kershaw became the second National League pitcher to win 16 games this season, about an hour after Arizona's Ian Kennedy did it in Washington. Kershaw extended his league-leading strikeout total to 207 (16 ahead of Cliff Lee's 191), and his 189 2/3 innings are tied with Roy Halladay for the most. Kershaw has six starts left this year for sure and possibly a seventh if the Dodgers alter their rotation slightly to allow him to start the final regular-season game at Arizona. Kershaw joined Sandy Koufax (1965) as the only pitchers in Dodgers history to have eight starts in one year with no earned runs and eight or more strikeouts.

--CF Matt Kemp, batting third for a second straight game, hit a three-run home run in the first inning to give him a career-high 29 for the season. His next homer will give him a 30-homer, 30-steal season. The fastest Dodger to reach 30/30 was Raul Mondesi in 147 games. Tuesday night's game was No. 128. Eight of Kemp's 29 home runs have come in starts by Clayton Kershaw this year.

--RF Andre Ethier, batting fifth for a second straight game, went 0-for-3 with two walks. His slump is 4-for-41, dropping his average to .286 this year.

--1B James Loney, batting second for a second straight game, reached base in his first two at-bats. In the last three games, he has eight hits and a walk.

--INF Aaron Miles, who made five different relief appearances in his career with the Cardinals, hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning off Cardinals infielder Skip Schumaker. It was Miles' third homer this year and second on the road trip. Miles has allowed two runs in five innings as a pitcher in his career.

--OF Alex Castellanos, acquired from the Cardinals for Rafael Furcal last month, continues to make a bid for a September promotion. He was named Southern League player of the week after he batted .430 (13-for-30) with nine extra-base hits and 11 RBI in six games. Overall, the 25-year-old is batting .350 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 20 games for Double-A Chattanooga.

BY THE NUMBERS: 27
-- Starts needed by Clayton Kershaw to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. That's tied for the sixth fewest in Dodgers history with Dazzy Vance (1924). The leader, of course, is Sandy Koufax with 21 starts in 1962 to reach 200 -- and he has four of the top five. Hideo Nomo has the other (23 starts in 1995). Kershaw's 200th strikeout was against Matt Holliday in the first inning Tuesday. He fanned eight in the game and has a league-leading 207, five behind majors leader Justin Verlander (212).

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"Don't know what else you could ask for. He plays almost all the positions. In spring training, I was wondering how we ended up with him. I was amazed, shocked. I kept looking around for the trap door that he would just disappear on us, but there hasn't been any. He's proved he can play." -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on the performance of utilityman Aaron Miles this year. Miles was signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, needed to win a job in spring training just to make the team, and continues to be one of the pleasant surprises this year.

*M*A*S*H* 4077 MEDICAL WATCH
--3B Casey Blake (pinched nerve in neck) had to leave the game Aug. 17 and didn't play Aug. 19-22. He's day-to-day.

--RF Andre Ethier (infected ingrown toenail) didn't play Aug. 19 but was available to pinch-hit, then didn't start Aug. 20 but came into the game late and played six innings. He was back in the lineup Aug. 21.

--SS Dee Gordon (bruised right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 10. He has begun baseball activities.

--RHP Rubby De La Rosa (sprained ulnar collateral ligament in right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 1. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery Aug. 9.

--RHP Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 27. He was hospitalized after the July 26 game, and he was released from the hospital July 27. He will end his three weeks on blood thinners Aug. 19 and started a minor league rehabilitation assignment Aug. 21. He is expected to return on Aug. 26.

--INF Juan Uribe (abdominal strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 24 with what originally was called a left hip strain. Uribe was taking batting practice every day in mid-August, but he hadn't improved enough to be able to run the bases. He got a cortisone shot to numb his left hip. With rehab games still needed, he won't return until rosters expand in September.

--RHP Jonathan Broxton (bone bruise on right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 4. He threw a bullpen session June 7. He made rehab appearances on June 21 and 23 for Class AAA Albuquerque, but he felt tightness in his elbow when playing catch June 25, and he was shut down from throwing. He was cleared to begin a throwing program in early August, and he might be able to return in early September.

--RHP Vicente Padilla (right radial nerve irritation, sore neck) went on the 15-day disabled list May 14 due to the arm injury. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on May 29, but he was shut down in early June due to a neck ailment. He underwent neck surgery June 16, and he likely will miss the rest of the season.

--RHP Jon Garland (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 2. He played catch June 21 but had to shut it down quickly. He underwent season-ending surgery during the All-Star break and began his rehab.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories