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DODGERS FYI

Outfielder Mitch Jones hopes his stay this time is a little longer

He takes a spot on the roster after pitcher Jason Schmidt is put on the 60-day disabled list.

June 17, 2009|Kevin Baxter

The last time Mitch Jones was promoted to the major leagues, one of the first calls he made was to his father in Orem, Utah, inviting him to New York to see his big league debut with the Yankees.

Twenty-four hours later he called back to say never mind, the Yankees were returning him to the minors before he even had a chance to take batting practice.

"You always dream of making that phone call to your dad," Jones said.

But even before his dad left Utah, "I was on my way back," he said. "That was tough."

That May 2006 visit was also the closest Jones, a 10-year minor leaguer, has come to playing in a big-league game -- until Tuesday, when the Dodgers called him up from triple-A Albuquerque. Jones struck out in the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter but received a standing ovation going back to the dugout.

Despite having played in three cities in three leagues and two countries since 2006, the 31-year-old outfielder said he never doubted he would get another shot at the majors.

"If I had that feeling I probably wouldn't keep playing. I always felt like another opportunity would come along at some time," said Jones, who wasn't even on the 40-man roster until Tuesday, when the Dodgers transferred pitcher Jason Schmidt to the 60-day disabled list to create a spot. "I've had the mind-set for a long time that I can only do what I can do and control what I can control on the field. And the rest of it has to kind of take care of itself."

Jones, who played part of the 2007 and 2008 seasons in Japan, was batting .292 with a Pacific Coast League-best 21 homers in 55 games at Albuquerque before his recall. His primary role with the Dodgers will be to give the team a power threat off the bench, although Manager Joe Torre said he plans to get him in the lineup as a designated hitter against the Angels this weekend in Anaheim.

That would seem to be the least Torre can do, because he was the Yankees manager who ended Jones' first big league experience after one day.

"He's a great guy," Torre said. "He works hard. He's improved his play in the outfielder. And he is a threat at the plate. That's one of the big reasons we called him here."

Manny update

Manny Ramirez is taking drugs -- only these were prescribed by the Dodgers' training staff to combat flu-like symptoms.

Torre said Ramirez's cold, which includes a cough and slight fever, has interrupted the suspended outfielder's morning workouts at Dodger Stadium, but it shouldn't delay his minor league rehab assignment, which is expected to start next week.

Short hops

The Dodgers have signed Korean high school infielder Tae-hyeok Nam to a minor league contract. The 18-year-old, who the Dodgers say has good power and above-average speed, batted .314 with 22 homers and 43 RBIs in 65 games for his high school in Seoul. Nam is the third Korean to sign a minor league deal with the Dodgers this year, joining right-handers Hyang-nam Choi, 38, who is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in nine relief appearances at triple A, and Ji-Mo Lee, 22, who will report to Class-A Inland Empire later this month. . . . Left-hander Will Ohman, on the disabled list since May 28 because of a sore shoulder, retired the side in order in one inning of a rehab appearance for Inland Empire.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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