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While Manny Ramirez is out, Dodgers should give Xavier Paul a look

April 26, 2010 |  6:35 pm
While Manny Ramirez recovers from his strained calf, why not play Xavier Paul? Why not give the kid a shot?

Exactly what is there to lose?

When the Dodgers released their lineup for Monday's rained out game against the Mets, it was Reed Johnson scheduled to start in Manny’s spot in left. Sunday, Garret Anderson started. Paul started one game Saturday after flying all night to join the team, went 0-for-5 and hasn't started since.

Johnson and Anderson are role players, and although part of that role is to step in when others are hurt, there is no particular long-term upside.

It's not like Anderson is suddenly going to find his major-league groove at age 37. Sunday, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, lowering his average to .143.

Johnson, 33, is another known quantity. He's useful, but it's not like he's still coming into his own and developing as a player.

Paul is unknown. In a minor league system currently bereft of anyone on the eve of being major-league ready, he comes about as close to a prospect as they have.

In 61 at-bats at Triple-A Albuquerque, Paul was batting .361 and had scored a team-high 22 runs. He had three home runs, nine RBI, three stolen bases and a .409 on-base percentage.

He does lots of things very well. But his problem is that, outside of having a superb arm, he doesn’t do any one thing dramatically well. No one thing has "wow" power.

His overall game, however, deserves a look. He's 25 and on the roster. It's still only April. Manny is out for 15 days. Seems like the ideal time to find out what he can do at this level if given a good look.

The years have already shown us what Anderson and Johnson can do. Let’s find out what Paul can do.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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