Ely optioned to Triple-A; Link called up

Ely optioned to Triple-A; Link called up

LOS ANGELES -- Not long after John Ely was trounced for a second consecutive outing Saturday afternoon, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti made the decision to send the rookie right-hander to Triple-A Albuquerque and recall Jon Link.

"If we need to go bullpen for that particularly day, we will, but we have a little time before we have to make that decision, or have to come up with a pitcher I should say," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "It may be a [Carlos] Monasterios start if we decide to go bullpen."

Ely, 24, had a 4-7 record and a 4.63 ERA in 14 starts for the Dodgers, and when he first came up was so effective that Torre called him a "godsend." But Ely has turned in four bad outings in his last six starts, including the last two, in which he went a combined five innings and allowed 11 runs. Against the Cubs on Saturday, a 7-3 Dodgers loss, Ely went 2 1/3 innings and let up six runs.

"They can't afford to keep me out there If I keep pitching like that," Ely said before Sunday's game after packing his gear. "It's just a part of the game. Sometimes you got to cut your losses while you can ... I kind of went home last night and thought about it. Two in a row, that's not acceptable, obviously."

"We just decided that he needs to get back on track, and talking to John today he certainly understood that," said Torre, who after Saturday's game said Ely was still scheduled to make his next start. "He's going down there with the attitude we need for him to have."

Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said there was nothing physical bothering Ely, and Ely said there was no particular mechanical change to make.

"We'll figure out what I need to do, wrestle it out," Ely said. "I'm as motivated as ever, I'll be back."

The fifth spot in the Dodgers' rotation will come up on July 19 when the Dodgers return home from St. Louis to face the Giants. Torre mentioned Triple-A pitchers James McDonald and Claudio Vargas as possible callups, with an emphasis on McDonald, who was scheduled to pitch Sunday for Albuquerque.

McDonald started the day 6-1 with a 4.17 ERA in 14 starts between Double-A and Triple-A. He missed June with a hamstring injury.

Link, who was on the road in Omaha with the Isotopes for a night game on Saturday, was told in the fourth inning he'd be flying out to Dodger Stadium on Sunday. He got to the ballpark around 1:30 p.m. PT.

"It's been a lot of frequent-flier miles," Link said. "So hopefully it'll be a nice offseason trip for me and my wife. I've always wanted to go to Dubai."

Link has been called up five times this season. Second baseman Blake DeWitt last season was called up six.

"We're going to blow that out of the water, at least I hope to," Link said, jokingly.

Link was 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA in 28 appearances for Albuquerque. Before he was called up to the Majors to make his first start on April 28, Ely was 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts this season with the Isotopes.

Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.