LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers activated outfielder Scott Van Slyke from the 15-day disabled list on Friday, and designated infielder Luis Cruz for assignment.
Cruz was the Opening Day third baseman, but struggled offensively and hit .127 with two doubles, one home run and six RBIs in 45 games between third and shortstop. Cruz was a contributor in 2012, when he hit .297 with six homers and 40 RBIs after being called up in July, but was unable to match that production this season.
With shortstop Hanley Ramirez finally healthy and Juan Uribe producing at third, Cruz saw his playing time dwindle. Nick Punto provides the Dodgers insurance at both positions. Cruz was also out of options, which prevented the Dodgers from sending him to the Minor Leagues without the risk of losing him to another club.
"Luis just got caught in a box this year," manager Don Mattingly said. "He struggled early and then Juan has swung the bat pretty well. Trying to get him at-bats after that got tougher. He needed at-bats to get out of it, and he wasn't getting those, and we couldn't send him anywhere to get at-bats."
The Dodgers now have 10 days to either place Cruz on waivers, release him or trade him. If Cruz does not land with another Major League club, he could accept an assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque.
"It's not necessarily the end of the road for Luis here, because there's a period of time that he's available to all teams and then he has a choice to make at some point," Mattingly said. "If he doesn't end up in the big leagues with someone, then you hope that he'll end up in Albuquerque, where he has a chance to get some swings. You never know what happens at that point. He could get a chance to come back again and play."
Van Slyke had been sidelined since June 11 with left shoulder bursitis. He made five combined Minor League rehab starts with Albuquerque and Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga.
In 24 games with the Dodgers before his injury, Van Slyke hit .221 with five doubles, six homers and 11 RBIs. Mattingly said he envisions using Van Slyke in the outfield against left-handed starters and occasionally at first base to spell Adrian Gonzalez.
"The battle will be to try to keep him sharp," Mattingly said.