Let's get it out of the way now: Could this be the missing Link to Dodgers’ relief woes?
Quick answer: Not likely.
Right-hander Jon Link, who came over to the Dodgers in the off-season from the White Sox in the Juan Pierre trade, was brought up prior to Sunday’s game against the Giants.
Russ Ortiz was designated for assignment. Assuming he clears waivers, he could join Triple-A Albuquerque. Ortiz said if the organization had a specific role in mind for him that could get him back to the Dodgers, he might accept an Albuquerque assignment.
This figures as a brief stop for Link. Possibly extremely brief.
The Dodgers are expected to bring up left-handed reliever Hong-Chih Kuo on Tuesday when they start a nine-game road trip in Cincinnati. And they could add right-hander Ronald Belisario shortly.
This is the first major-league call-up for Link -- who led all minor leaguers in 2008 with 35 saves at Double-A Birmingham -- and he understands it might prove a short stay.
"It’s good to come up here and get my feet wet,’" Link said. "Whether I have to go back down or not.
"It’s a good opportunity for me to show what I can do when games matter … even if it is only a short period of time. The opportunity is there, and I’m going to take it and run with it.’’
Link appeared in six games for Albuquerque this season, going 1-1 with two saves in 4 1/3 innings of work. He struck out three, walked three and had a 6.23 ERA.
Link, 27, said he was home Saturday when he got the phone call every minor leaguer dreams of from Albuquerque manger Tim Wallach.
"I was at home, playing video games and talking to my wife," Link said. "Wally called and said, 'Why aren’t you here yet?' And I paused and thought to myself, 'Oh, boy, did I miss something? Was I late to the field? Was something going on I didn’t know about?’ And I said, 'I’ll be there in 10 minutes.'"And he said, 'OK, do you have your flight information with you?' And I said, 'What?' He said, 'You’re going to Los Angeles tonight.'
"The initial shock of it was, 'Wow.' It was really something else. It was everything I hoped it would be when I first got my phone call."
Ortiz, 35, made the 25-man roster during the spring after coming to camp as a non-roster invitee.
After a solid spring, however, he was inconsistent the first two weeks of the season. In six appearances, Ortiz was 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA. In seven innings, he allowed 10 hits and gave up five walks.
"I threw three innings that went terribly wrong, and I think I threw [four] innings that went really well," Ortiz said.
"I’m not going to just put on any uniform to put on a uniform. I love to compete. I love to win," he said, adding that anytime you're "let go it’s disappointing. This is my third time.
"What comes next, we’ll see. It’s kind of exciting but at the same time disappointing."
If the Dodgers are still interested in Ortiz, he could benefit from going down and trying to become more consistent. A very long season awaits and all things are possible.
-- Steve Dilbeck