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Was Link the wrong Dodgers reliever to send down?

April 20, 2010 |  8:44 pm
Ortiz1 They should have given the kid a chance.

Maybe it only would have been for a couple more days, but maybe not. They should have seen what Jon Link can do.

Instead, after Tuesday’s frustrating 11-9 loss to the Reds, the Dodgers sent Link back to Albuquerque as a prelude to activating Ronald Belisario.

I would have preferred they kept Link around and designated Ramon Ortiz for assignment.

A quick stop over for Link had been the plan since he was called up Sunday (when the other old Ortiz, Russ, was released). Keep him up only until either Belisario or Hong-Chih Kuo was ready to join the club this week.

Ramon Ortiz, 36, had a brilliant spring (0.96 ERA) but has been unable to duplicate it at the start of the season. He’s had some fine innings, but has been wildly inconsistent.

In Tuesday’s loss to the Reds, the Dodgers might have enjoyed a nice comeback victory, but for Ortiz giving up a two-run homer to Joey Votto in the fourth.

Link followed him, and making his major-league debut, threw two shut-out innings, not allowing a hit.

Link is 27 and has earned a look. He came to the Dodgers in the offseason from the White Sox as part of the Juan Pierre trade. He led all of the minors in saves in 2008. He may well have a future.

Ramon Ortiz, with his fat 8.00 ERA, does not. It’s tricky with him, because he can opt out if the Dodgers want to send him down. But if they did, he probably would best be served to head to Albuquerque.

It becomes more difficult -- if you can actually say that about moves with this bullpen -- later in the week, when Kuo is expected to be activated.

By then -- possibly as soon as Thursday -- a second reliever will have to be moved, and maybe Link would have had to go. The other possibility is Carlos Monasterios, the Rule 5 pick from Philadelphia, who is barely being used.

Manager Joe Torreappears to lack confidence in Monasterios.  He’s sort of taking up space. The Dodgers could make an offer to purchase him from the Phillies. If they decline, I’d let him return to the Phillies.

At least for the short term, though, I’d have kept Link around. Ortiz is probably going to have to go when Kuo is activated anyway.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Ramon Ortiz during a spring training session in March. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press
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