Is this Justin Sellers’ final week in the Big Leagues?

With every indication that Hanley Ramirez will be returning to the Dodger line-up as early as this coming Tuesday (on Hanley Ramirez bobble head night, no less), the Dodgers will have to make a corresponding roster move. The question is – who stays and who goes?

Because Tim Federowicz, who was brought up exclusively for the three interleague games against the Orioles, was just sent back down to Triple-A to make room for returning left-hander Ted Lilly, chances are that it will be either Justin Sellers or Luis Cruz who gets a one way ticket to Albuquerque.

Sellers is 4 for 12 (.333) on the current road trip. (Photo credit - Kathy Kmonicek)

Sellers is 4 for 12 (.333) on the current road trip.
(Photo credit – Kathy Kmonicek)

There is little doubt that Cruz is the better defender at third base and Sellers at shortstop, so the ultimate decision will most likely come down to where the Dodgers plan to put Ramirez in the infield.

During spring training Dodger manager Don Mattingly said that Ramirez would at least begin the season at shortstop and they would see how that went; of course this was before Ramirez was injured in the final game of the World Baseball Classic. And even though there is no indication that Mattingly has changed his mind about this, it may be a better idea to have Ramirez play third base instead of short because of his limited range and what will undoubtedly be a reluctance to dive for balls – something that he did not particularly like doing even before his recent injury.

From an offensive standpoint, Sellers appears to be heating up a little and narrowly missed his second home run of the season in Wednesday night’s embarrassing loss to the Mets. In contrast, Cruz’s bat has gone from cold to ice cold. On the young season, Sellers is 11 for 51 (.216) with a home run and 2 RBIs while Cruz is a pathetic 4 for 46 (.086) with no home runs and 1 RBI. I don’t care how good you are with a glove, an .086  batting average almost a month into the season is unacceptable on the major league level.

Cruz, on the other hand, is 0 for 6 and may be working his way off of the 25-man roster. (Photo courtesy of Exposay.com)

Cruz, on the other hand, is 0 for 6 and may be working his way off of the Dodgers 25-man roster. (Photo courtesy of Exposay.com)

Additionally, it’s not as though Sellers cannot play third base. In fact, he played four errorless games at the position during spring training 2012 and three errorless games this past spring. On the other hand, Luis Cruz has proven that he can play either position exceptionally well and we would not even be having this discussion if he were hitting even .200; but he is not and he very well may be forcing Mattingly’s hand in this decision.

We should know more within the next couple of days which way Mattingly is leaning on this inevitable (and tough) decision, but if Sellers continues to heat up at the plate and Cruz does not, it will be a no-brainer.

Stay tuned…

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4 Responses to “Is this Justin Sellers’ final week in the Big Leagues?”

  1. Evan Bladh says:

    Cruz should go, but he probably won’t because he’s out of options. Mattingly has admitted that Cruz has lost all confidence in himself. A minor league trip would do him good. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

  2. KSparkuhl says:

    I still think that it’s too soon to bring back Ramirez. Four weeks after major ligament surgery on a thumb is too much to ask for. The word is that his thumb is still swollen pretty good… certainly from all the work he’s put into coming back.

    Although it would be a huge boost to the offense to have Hanley Ramirez back, I would much rather play it safe and have his injury to the point where there is little to no inflammation. This would ensure the prevention of further injury to the thumb, and further setback to the team.

    As far as the Cruz/Sellers situation; at this point, with no options remaining on Cruz, it might be best to give Luis one more shot to prove himself when Ramirez returns. If he continues to struggle, then it’s time to pull the plug on the Luis Cruz experiment and bring Sellers back.

    One thing I’ve been impressed with is the patience that Juan Uribe has shown at the plate. He’s taking walks and is driving the ball more to right field… and he can definitely play defense. So if Hanley returns and is playing short, then it might be well to give third base back to Uribe and see if playing regularly might let the base hits fall.

    • Truebluewill says:

      Kevin, I agree with you on both counts. I think that because of the anemic Dodger offense they are going to rush Hanley back too soon. This could affect his swing and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets off to a slow start. I also feel Cruz’s time with the Dodgers could have past and may be between Hairston, Punto, and Uribe they can piecemeal a third baseman out of that trio.

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