Link's Dodgers debut is bittersweet
Righty tosses two scoreless frames, optioned after game
CINCINNATI -- It was a bittersweet debut for Dodgers reliever Jon Link.
Not long after Link made his Major League debut by pitching two scoreless innings in the Dodgers' 11-9 loss to the Reds on Tuesday night, the 27-year old right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.
"I was so impressed, I optioned him," quipped Dodgers manager Joe Torre.
Link, who was recalled from Triple-A on Sunday, pitched the sixth and seventh innings, allowed no runs, no hits and issued one walk.
"It was a dream come true," said Link, a Columbus, Ohio, native who grew up a Reds fan. "I was excited, but I don't get nervous. I knew I was here to fill a void. I didn't know tonight was going to be my last day. Bittersweet is a good word."
Link led the Minor Leagues in 2008 with 35 saves for Double-A Birmingham. He appeared in six games for Albuquerque this season, going 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA and two saves.
The move frees up room on the roster for Ronald Belisario, whom the Dodgers were expected to activate on Wednesday.
Manny returns to starting lineup
CINCINNATI -- Manny Ramirez, who was not in the starting lineup for two consecutive games last week due to a tight right calf muscle, returned to the Dodgers' starting lineup on Tuesday night.
Ramirez was removed from Friday night's game with the injury, but he was back in left field for the Dodgers and batting cleanup for the opener of a three-game series against the Reds.
"I checked on him in the trainer's room this afternoon," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "He gave me the thumb's up. Hopefully, he won't have to run around too much out there."
Kuo OK after Minors rehab outing
CINCINNATI -- Dodgers left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo felt fine following Sunday's Minor League rehab appearance, but he's still awaiting word on when he'll be activated from the disabled list.
Kuo, on the DL since March 26 due to left shoulder discomfort, threw a bullpen session prior to Tuesday night's series opener against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Dodgers manager Joe Torre remained reluctant to activate the 28-year-old hurler.
"I'm not concerned about his ability to pitch," said Torre. "It's that he feels OK after he pitches."
Kuo needed just six pitches to get through the seventh inning on Sunday for Class A Inland Empire. He struck out one batter on three pitches.
"We'll see what happens," Kuo said. "I'm just going to keep working hard. I feel better after I pitch. I just need to get ready to pitch in a game."
Torre: Dodgers outfielders All-Star caliber
CINCINNATI -- Manager Joe Torre believes it's possible that the National League All-Star team could have a starting outfield consisting exclusively of Dodgers.
"They're certainly going to get some attention," Torre said. "When you put those three guys out there together, it's impressive what they're doing."
Center fielder Matt Kemp was batting .353 with five home runs and 10 RBIs entering Tuesday's game vs. the Reds, and he was riding an eight-game hitting streak. He was tied for second in the NL in homers with Albert Pujols.
Kemp's fellow outfielders, Andre Ethier, who was batting .389 with three homers and 12 RBIs entering Tuesday, and Manny Ramirez, who was hitting .375 with two homers, form a dynamic trio.
"Offensively, they've been the heart of our lineup," said Torre. "It's Manny and the two youngsters."
Joe Torre got a bit of a reprieve on this visit to Cincinnati. With his wife, Ali, a Queen City native, not on the trip, the Dodgers' skipper didn't have to fulfill as many ticket requests as he usually does. Torre expected 15 family members and friends to be in attendance on Tuesday night for the series opener against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. "They're unspoiled," said Torre. "They don't care where they sit ... unlike my New York family."
Jeff Wallner is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.