Pitcher McDonald pushing for callup

McDonald.jpgRight-handed pitcher James McDonald entered the season as the Dodgers’ No. 7 prospect, according to Baseball America, and could be on the cusp of a September callup if he impresses at Triple-A.

He did that in his first start for the 51s on Aug. 6, yielding one run on two hits in six innings while striking out 10 to record the win.

McDonald made such performances a habit while compiling a 5-3 record and a 3.19 ERA in 22 starts earlier this season for Double-A Jacksonville, where he struck out 113 and walked 46 in 118 2/3 innings.

John Meloan, since traded to Cleveland in the Casey Blake deal, spent the end of last season in Triple-A after a successful run at Double-A to earn a September callup, a situation that could mirror McDonald’s 2008 season.

After spending over a month with the Dodgers, left-hander Eric Stults has thrown well in his last two outings following a rough first game back. He yielded five runs in six innings in that first contest but has given up just four runs in 11 1/3 innings of his last two starts (3.18 ERA).

Former Giants pitcher Jerome Williams has allowed two runs in seven innings (2.57 ERA) coming out of Vegas’ bullpen as he attempts to work his way back to the Majors

Down in Jacksonville, 2004 first-round pick Scott Elbert has not allowed a run in eight of his last nine appearances, compiling a 1.39 ERA in those 13 innings.

Meanwhile, 2007 first-round pick Chris Withrow made his debut with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Aug. 10, giving up a run on one hit in one inning after being shelved all year with arm and control problems. He threw only nine innings in six professional games for the Rookie Gulf Coast Dodgers last season due to concerns about his elbow.

Pitcher Greg Miller has not thrown well of late, getting shelled to the tune of a 16.20 ERA in his last 10 outings. Such struggles have become a trend for Miller, as he has compiled 7.58 ERA in 48 2/3 innings this season after recording a 7.85 ERA in 28 2/3 innings last year.

Miller, a 2002 first-round supplemental pick who missed 2004 with shoulder surgery, was rated as the Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect by Baseball America entering 2004 after being named the organization’s Pitcher of the Year in 2003.

Demoted Dodgers’ bats cooling off

Third baseman Blake DeWitt has shown the same lack of power in the Minors lately that he did in the Majors, along with a couple of other former Dodgers in Vegas.

DeWitt is hitting .279 in his last 10 games at Triple-A, but he has no extra-base hits and only two RBIs in those 43 at-bats. He went 16 straight games without an extra-base hit late in his previous stint with the Dodgers.

Shortstop Chin-lung Hu is hitting .194 in his last 10, with a double as his only extra-base hit. He has not driven in a run in those 36 at-bats and has not scored a run since tallying two in the first day of this stretch.

Infielder Luis Maza has cooled off as well in that time, hitting .211 with a double as his only extra-bagger, although he has driven in and scored five runs.

— Michael Schwartz

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