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Van Slyke returns to action with home run

Dodgers pitcher Hatcher on DL with strained left oblique

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers activated outfielder Scott Van Slyke from the disabled list Wednesday and, in a corresponding move, put right-hander Chris Hatcher on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

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Van Slyke, who had been on the DL since May 31 with a strained muscle in his back, went 2-for-4 with a home run in Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Rangers.

"He's been a guy that has hit left-handed pitching for us, and right-handed pitching at times," manager Don Mattingly said before the game. "It's good to have him back. It gives us some versatility with a guy that can play all three outfield spots and first base."

Van Slyke spent three games rehabbing for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. He was 4-for-11 with a double, a home run and two RBIs.

Van Slyke is now hitting .275 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 35 games -- 21 starts.

Van Slyke started in left field Wednesday night. His role will be to give off-days to Andre Ethier when the opposition has a left-hander on the mound. Van Slyke is hitting .286 against southpaws, going into Wednesday.

Hatcher said he first felt pain after 2/3 of an inning against San Diego on Sunday.

"It's more like a twinge when I pull the front side through. I wouldn't say it's painful, but it's uncomfortable," Hatcher said. "I felt it after [the game]. When the adrenaline is going, you don't really feel much."

Mattingly said Hatcher's oblique injury is not nearly as bad Carl Crawford's, which has kept the outfielder out of action since April 27.

"It's not at that level," Mattingly said.

In his absence, the Dodgers had a six-man bullpen Wednesday against Texas, but expect that to change.

"Yeah we're going to have to get back to normal. We're not going to go short on relievers," Mattingly said. "We know we can do it for a day, having Kersh tonight and having a full boat otherwise allows us to do this for today, and we'll see where we can go from there."

Mattingly eliminated rehabbing relievers Brandon League, Joel Peralta, Paco Rodriguez and Pedro Baez as potential callups for Thursday. Rodriguez started Wednesday for Rancho Cucamonga and the other three will each see action at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday or Friday.

Worth noting:

• The Dodgers announced the signings of two more draft picks on Wednesday: Mitchell Hansen, an outfielder from Plano (Texas), and right-hander Andrew Sopko from Gonzaga University. Hansen was the Dodgers' second-round pick, while Sopko was selected in the seventh round. The team has now signed 26 of its 40 draft picks.

Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for
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