Making Moves: Puig/Dee demoted, Reyes/Canizales signed, team releases six

YasielPuigQuakes

The “Yasiel Puig Should Start & Bat Cleanup Movement” took a major but obvious and expected blow Tuesday, as the young Cuban outfielder was optioned to AA Chattanooga.

“I told him he had a great camp. It’s an organizational decision of what we think is best for him, now and in the long term,” said manager Don Mattingly. “We think this guy has a chance to be a really good player. He’s done nothing wrong in our camp, but he can just keep improving.”

Puig is raw and was never going to start the year in The Show unless other viable outfield candidates got hurt and ownership couldn’t throw money around to acquire someone else.

Besides, there’s no reason the Dodgers should rush a guy who’s got limited pro experience with none of that above high-A ball.

“He didn’t seem that happy about it. You don’t really want guys to be happy that they’re being sent out,” Mattingly said. “When we came into camp, this guy wasn’t even on the radar (for this season). He’s had a great camp…. Obviously he’s put himself on the map as far as probably knocking on the door instead of being a couple of years away.”

Puig wasn’t happy, as you would expect.

I’ve said it before, but I’d be surprised if he saw any action this year in the bigs, barring injury.

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Dee Gordon was optioned to AAA on Tuesday.

He was an option at short with Hanley Ramirez out a couple of months, but the move mainly serves to strengthen Juan Uribe‘s hold on a 25-man roster spot.

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The Dodgers have struck on the international market again, signing 17-year-old righty Bernardo Reyes of Sonora, Mexico.

Additionally, Dylan Hernandez reports the club has signed Jesus Canizales, a 16-year-old righty out of Venezuela.

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Mark Lowe, one of the many non-roster invitees in spring camp, has been released.

“He didn’t do anything wrong in camp. We thought he threw the ball good,” said manager Don Mattingly. “There just wasn’t a spot. This gives him a chance to catch on with another club.”

He was a long-shot to make the crowded pen from the jump.

On the minor-league side of things, the Dodgers released Riley Welch, Kazuki Nishijima, Jordan Roberts, Gregory Pena, and Kyle Russell.

Russell is the most interesting name of the bunch, as he’s always had great power, but struck out a ludicrous amount of the time.

Kyle Russell established University of Texas records for both single-season (28) and career (57) home runs, and the ’07 third-rounder ought to have no trouble latching on with another club if he’s healthy. Despite striking out nearly a third of the time at the Double-A level, Russell hit 40 homers in 270 games, posting an isolated slugging percentage of .229.

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Matt Eddy of Baseball America provided a glimpse at Dashenko Ricardo, whom the Dodgers recently signed.

Dashenko Ricardo caught eight games for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, going 5-for-22 (.227) at the plate and helping the pitching staff navigate its way to the semifinal round. He threw out 37 percent of basestealers last season in the short-season Northwest League with an arm so strong that the Giants attempted to convert him to pitcher in ’11 after taking him in the minor league Rule 5 draft.

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Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal report that the World Baseball Classic will pay just shy of $4 million of Hanley Ramirez‘s 2013 salary while he recovers from the thumb injury he suffered during WBC play.

The Dodgers will be without Hanley Ramirez for roughly eight weeks as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. But thanks to a new provision this year, the World Baseball Classic – not the Dodgers – could be on the hook for the nearly $4 million Ramirez is set to earn while on the shelf, per reports by Buster Olney of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Ramirez is due $15.5 million in 2013, and missing exactly eight weeks after surgery gives him a return date of May 16. Since the 183-day championship season begins on March 31, Ramirez would be on the disabled list in this scenario for 46 days. That means the WBC would be responsible for approximately $3,896,175 of Ramirez’s salary.

The WBC is on the hook because Ramirez will miss more than 30 days.

Gotta love insurance.

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Greg Zakwin is the founder of the site Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle. Follow him on Twitter @ArgyledPlaschke.

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