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Travis d'Arnaud era ends quickly as Dodgers trade him to the Rays

Travis d'Arnaud era ends quickly as Dodgers trade him to the Rays
Catcher Travis d'Arnaud looks on during batting practice before the start of a game between the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on Monday. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

The Travis d’Arnaud era in Los Angeles is over. Five days after the catcher signed with the team he grew up cheering for in Long Beach, the Dodgers shipped him to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash. The Dodgers recalled catcher Rocky Gale from triple-A Oklahoma City to replace d’Arnaud on the roster.

“He’s going to go out there and get more playing time,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And for us to try to give him an opportunity and runway, it’s just been difficult.”

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When asked if another catcher was called up because Austin Barnes or Russell Martin, the Dodgers’ top two catchers, was hurt, Roberts said both are healthy. Gale, 31, appeared in four games and started two for the Dodgers earlier in the season. He went two for 14.

The Dodgers must wait 10 days before they can recall Matt Beaty, who was sent down when d’Arnaud arrived.

The brief marriage between the Dodgers and d’Arnaud was uneventful. D’Arnaud signed and joined the team Sunday in San Diego, took a couple of at-bats in a simulated game at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, and appeared in his only game in a Dodger uniform as a pinch-hitter Thursday. He grounded out.

“Man, it was a good run,” Roberts joked. “That simulated game we had was great.”

D’Arnaud, 30, began the season on the 10-day injured list with the New York Mets as he completed his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He was activated April 7 and went two for 23 at the plate before he was designated for assignment, ending an injury-riddled seven-year career in Queens that began with d’Arnaud as a highly touted prospect. The Mets, however, are still on the hook to pay d’Arnaud $3.5 million this season.

The Dodgers signed d’Arnaud as a third catcher, an unorthodox roster decision spawned from the club’s dearth of right-handed hitters after A.J. Pollock underwent elbow surgery. But Roberts said the club was planning on using d’Arnaud at first base and left field in addition to catcher. The problem was d’Arnaud has never played first base or left field as a professional. He would’ve had to learn on the fly. He was trying to this week, doing work at both positions before games. The experiment ended swiftly. D’Arnaud will catch for the Rays after the team placed catcher Mike Zunino on the injured list.

Give them a break

Usually, major league teams cannot wait for a day off to break up the monotony of a 162-game season. But the Dodgers will be in an unusual — and perhaps undesirable — spot over the next two weeks. After finishing their series with the Washington Nationals on Sunday, the team will be off four of the next 10 days. The scheduling quirk will result in the Dodgers adjusting their rotation, Roberts said Friday. How, exactly, has not been decided, he said.

We’re working through it and we’ll do what’s best for each individual pitcher and team,” Roberts said. “There might be some rest involved. It’s a long season so you got to protect the pitchers. So if there’s something's going on, you got to keep ahead of it. Keep them healthy. We’ll assess everything and make a decision.”

Ferguson update

Caleb Ferguson struck out two and walked one in a scoreless inning in his first rehab appearance for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday. The left-hander was placed on the injured list April 28 with a strained oblique.

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