#RBIMachine Out, Scott Van Slyke In

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that Juan Rivera has been placed on the disabled list and Scott Van Slyke will take his place on the Dodgers.

The Dodgers on Wednesday placed outfielder Juan Rivera on the 15-day disabled list with a significant hamstring strain or tear behind the left knee and were recalling outfielder Scott Van Slyke from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Manager Don Mattingly described the injury as “fairly major,” “significant” and “not just a strain.”

He said newly signed Bobby Abreu would get most of Rivera’s playing time in left field, but Mattingly is “not looking at him as an everyday guy” because that would “run the risk of beating him up.”

Rivera, who missed six starts last month with a left hamstring injury, was removed from Tuesday night’s game when he felt “pins and needles” in the same area behind the back of his left knee while sliding into third base.

An MRI on Wednesday revealed the extent of the injury.

“I felt something pop, but it didn’t hurt,” said Rivera. “They said this is better than pulling a hamstring. It might take two or three weeks and they want me to be 100 percent.”

So Rivera’s injury looks to be a lot more serious than initially thought, and based on the way he’s been playing so far in 2012, the injury is probably a blessing in disguise because his replacements would be hard-pressed to play worse.

With that said, Bobby Abreu getting a majority of the time in left field frightens me for defensive reasons, so hopefully Van Slyke hits well right off the bat and gets a shot at regular playing time.

From 2011 on, at AA and AAA, Van Slyke has posted a .351/.428/.626/1.054 line against lefties and an equally impressive .343/.422/.591/1.013 line against righties, so he’s not really a platoon player. He’ll make 26 in two months and seems to have little left to prove in the minors, so this seems to be as good a time as any to give him a shot.

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