Paul takes place of disabled outfielder Manny

Paul takes place of disabled outfielder Manny

WASHINGTON -- Xavier Paul was called up from Triple-A on Friday to replace injured outfielder Manny Ramirez on the Dodgers roster, but his flight out of New Orleans was delayed 2 1/2 hours by bad weather and he landed in Washington after the Dodgers, playing a man short, lost 5-1 to the Nationals.

Paul is hoping this callup goes better than last year's. Paul got that call when Ramirez was suspended 50 games for violating the MLB drug policy. Paul played in only 11 games with the Dodgers and hit his first home run, but wound up in the hospital for a week with a staph infection in his leg from a slide in Philadelphia.

Out more than a month, he was just about ready for game action when he suffered a hairline fracture of his ankle while at the club's Camelback Ranch-Glendale facility in Arizona. That healed in time for him to get in some Triple-A playoff games and the Arizona Junior Fall League, but no Major League callup.

"I'm trying to forget about last year as much as possible -- especially the negative end," said Paul. "I got called up yesterday and I was in my hometown [Slidell, La.] and that couldn't be better. I had a lot of family there watching me and I had to call everybody and tell them not to go to Friday night's game, because I was going back to the big leagues. That pretty much made my year."

Paul, 25, hit .256 this spring. With the acquisitions of Reed Johnson and Garret Anderson, there was no room for him to break with the big league club regardless of how he played.

"My spring was good enough to get me back here now," he said. "I lost a lot of time last year and this spring I needed to reopen eyes for this to happen. It feels good to be back."