LOS ANGELES -- While most of the attention was on future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols being introduced as a member of the Dodgers, the team also activated infielder/outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo and left-hander David Price on Monday.
In order to make room for Pujols, Tsutsugo and Price on the active roster, the Dodgers optioned catcher Keibert Ruiz, left-hander Alex Vesia and right-hander Mitch White. To make room for Pujols on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers moved right-hander Tony Gonsolin to the 60-day injured list, making May 31 the first day he can return.
Price, who suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain on April 25, gives the Dodgers a much-needed boost in the bullpen. Before the injury, the veteran was settling in nicely in his new role as a reliever, allowing just one run in his last five appearances.
Having Price back gives the Dodgers another left-handed option, to go along with Victor González and Garrett Cleavinger. Price will continue his role as a multi-inning reliever.
“I think that the guys in the 'pen couldn’t be happier to have one of their elder statesmen back in the 'pen,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts before Monday's series opener vs. the D-backs. “He’s available tonight.”
As for Tsutsugo, 29, the Dodgers acquired him from the Rays on Saturday for cash considerations or a player to be named. Tsutsugo had a decorated career for the Yokohama BayStars in Japan, but he hasn’t had much success in the Majors, which ultimately resulted in Tampa Bay designating him for assignment.
But while Tsutsugo has hit just .187 with eight homers in 235 at-bats over the last two seasons, the Dodgers believe a change of scenery and some adjustments at the plate could help the Japanese slugger find success at this level.
“We really liked Yoshi’s bat when he was in Japan,” said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. “[We] very much believe in the bat. Still believe he can hit, and sometimes a change of scenery helps. … He’ll get with our hitting guys and get to work. At his core, we believe he is a really good hitter. How long that will take to unlock, we’re not sure, but from all the digging we’ve done, we feel very confident that he’s going to work and do everything in his power to get there.”
Tsutsugo will give the Dodgers another left-handed bat off the bench, essentially filling in for Edwin Ríos, who was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. Defensively, Tsutsugo can play first base, third and left field.
“This is a really good acquisition for the Dodgers,” Roberts said. “This is something that is going to make some news as we get going. For me, just happy to have him here.”
Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor was scratched from Sunday’s game with right wrist soreness just minutes before first pitch. While Taylor wasn’t in the Dodgers’ starting lineup on Monday against D-backs left-hander Madison Bumgarner, Roberts said Taylor was available to pinch-hit or play defense, if needed.
Taylor will continue to be a big piece for the Dodgers this season, as he fills in for Cody Bellinger in center field and serves as Gavin Lux’s primary backup at shortstop until Corey Seager returns.