On Monday the Los Angeles Dodgers designated infielder Russ Mitchell for assignment in accordance with the 40-man roster limit. This move was processed to free up space for newly acquired pitcher Todd Coffey. Mitchell’s status remains on waivers, and if no team shows interest in the infielder within two business days, he can return to the Dodgers, most likely being outrighted to the Isotopes.
Mitchell, 26, split time between the Dodgers and Triple-A affiliate Albuquerque Isotopes last season. The utility fielder hit .283 with 16 home runs in 336 at-bats with the ‘Topes, and appeared in 25 games with the Dodgers collecting eight hits and three RBI. In 40 career games at the Major League level, Mitchell has hit .151 in 93 at-bats.
Russ Mitchell’s standout moment occurred on May 20, 2011 with Los Angeles playing the first of a three game interleague series against the Chicago White Sox. Later dubbed “The Fog Game,” the Dodgers trailed the White Sox 2-3 in the 9th inning. Mitchell, who was penciled in the roster because of infield injuries, smashed a two-out, solo home run to tie the game. He again proved clutch in the 10th inning with a full-extension, diving snag at third base to prevent the game-winning runs from scoring. The Dodgers eventually went on to defeat the White Sox in a 6-4 final, largely due to the late-inning heroics of Russ Mitchell.
Still remaining on the 40-man roster are second baseman Ivan De Jesus Jr. and pitcher Ramon Troncoso. De Jesus spent the majority of the 2011 season with the Isotopes, hitting .310 with 29 extra-base hits and 59 RBI in 387 at-bats. The 24-year-old also proved a consistent glove in the field with a .989 fielding percentage with only four errors. Troncoso, 28, went 2-4 with a 5.05 ERA in 57 innings of work with the Isotopes in 2011, and posted a 6.75 ERA in 22.2 innings with the Dodgers.
De Jesus and Troncoso will be competing throughout Spring Training for a spot on Los Angeles’ final 25-man roster. Pitchers and catchers are set to report on February 19 and full squads on February 24. The exhibition games are scheduled from March 6 – April 1 at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.