Dodgers acquire Scott Podsednik from Royals

Reporting from San Diego — The Dodgers made a deal with three days remaining until the non-waiver trade deadline, adding not any of the pitchers they are targeting but a player General Manager Ned Colletti called a “safeguard” in case outfielders Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson remain sidelined for an extended period.

The safeguard in question is veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik, whom the Dodgers acquired from the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday for triple-A catcher Lucas May and Class-A right-hander Elisaul Pimentel.

Podsednik, 34, has played for five teams over 10 major league seasons, including the World Series champion Chicago White Sox in 2005. A lifetime .280 hitter, he was batting .310 with 44 runs batted in, 46 runs scored and 30 steals.

Podsednik, who has a 15-game hitting streak, is expected to join the Dodgers for their series finale in San Diego on Thursday.

“He brings us speed,” Colletti said. “He’s a good hitter. He can play left field. He can play center field, if necessary. He can add a lot of different dimensions to the club.”

Ramirez, 38, is on the disabled list because of a strained calf muscle and is receiving treatment at the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Arizona. Johnson, the fourth outfielder, is also on the disabled list, as he is recovering from a strained lower back.

Colletti said he didn’t know when either player would return.

Unlike some of the deals made by the Dodgers in recent years, they did not receive cash from their trading partner.

Podsednik is still owed about $600,000 of his 2010 salary of $1.75 million. Podsednik’s deal also includes a $2-million option for next season that has a $100,000 buyout.

Podsednik can void the option if he makes 525 plate appearances. He currently has 435.

The Dodgers are in position to take even more money, “for the right deal,” Colletti said.

Colletti said he would spend the time leading up to the Saturday deadline focused on acquiring pitching. Roy Oswalt of the Houston Astros and Ted Lilly of the Chicago Cubs are among the targets.

Having already traded top catching prospect Carlos Santana as part of a package for Casey Blake and cash two years ago, there is a shortage of quality catchers in the Dodgers’ system.

“We decided to go with the now in Podsednik,” Colletti said. “We’re worry when we get to that point in time.”

A converted shortstop, the 25-year-old May was batting .296 with 11 home runs and 45 runs batted in in triple A.

Pimentel, 22, was 9-3 with a 3.49 earned-run average in 17 games, including 16 starts, in low A.

Ely to return?

With Clayton Kershaw suspended until Sunday, the Dodgers will need an emergency starter on Saturday in San Francisco.

Manager Joe Torre said John Ely was likely to receive the assignment. Torre also said that Chad Billingsley had offered to start the game on short rest, but the manager added he doesn’t want to do anything that might disrupt his rhythm.

Short hops

A day after he was held out of the lineup because of a stomach virus, Andre Ethier started in right field. … Johnson threw in the outfield and hit in the cages. He will run Thursday and probably will be on his way to a minor league rehabilitation assignment in the near future unless he suffers a setback. … Right-hander Justin Miller, who was designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and was outrighted to triple-A Albuquerque.

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