The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Austin Barnes from Triple-A Oklahoma City and placed Russell Martin on the bereavement list prior to Saturday’s game with the New York Yankees.
Barnes returns after spending the past month in Oklahoma City. He was demoted amid ongoing struggles at the plate and replaced by Will Smith, who has assumed starting catching for the Dodgers.
Coming off what was a disappointing 2018 campaign, Barnes is batting just .196/.288/.328 with 10 doubles, five home runs and 23 RBI in 70 games for the Dodgers this season. Manager Dave Roberts was hopeful a stint in the Minors would allow for the 29-year-old to find his swing.
That appeared to be the cause during a streak of five consecutive games that saw Barnes hit a home run. Overall with Oklahoma City, Barnes batted .250/.348/.553 with six doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI in 20 games.
He was among the players Roberts said the Dodgers intended to recall once active rosters expanded on Sept. 1. Although Barnes’ arrival comes just over one week before that point, he presumably is with the club for good.
By being placed on the bereavement list, Martin is required to miss at least three games but no more than seven. Thus, he would need to be placed back on the active roster on Saturday, Aug. 31, when the Dodgers face the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While Barnes may technically be optioned back to Oklahoma City at that point, he likely would remain with the Dodgers to be recalled the following day.
Martin has appeared in 69 games this season and hit .207/.330/.299 with four doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI. He recently delivered a two-run, walk-off single to help the Dodgers complete a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Martin reveled in the moment, joking that veteran players needed to show their younger teammates they were capable of game-winning hits as well. Martin added he wasn’t fond of the celebration expanding to include baby powder after being showered in ice water.
In addition to filling the role of backup catcher, the 36-year-old has demonstrated his versatility by spelling Justin Turner at third base and making three relief appearances — the firsts of his career — as well.