LOS ANGELES -- A pair of home runs -- including an opposite-field shot -- is probably enough to get somebody like Matt Kemp trending on Twitter. For the humble A.J. Ellis to have that happen, he would need some help, and there is no one better in Los Angeles to provide that than Vin Scully.
So thanks to a plug from the famed broadcaster after he hit a solo shot in the third inning on Friday, Ellis suddenly became an overnight social media sensation.
"It was pretty busy," Ellis said about his Twitter account after the game. "I got home and I watched the replay of Vin talking about Twitter on the telecast. He did a good job. I'm very thankful for Vin pumping me up."
Ellis went on to hit another home run in the seventh, but by then he and Scully had already taken Twitter by storm. The pair joined a lengthy list of Dodgers who have trended nationally this season. Kemp, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon, Adam Kennedy, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Sellers and Shane Victorino have all fallen into the category in 2012.
The catcher said he checked his Twitter after the game and thinks he added about 800 new followers to up his total to well over 14,000.
After the Dodgers' 6-1 victory over the Cubs, Ellis tweeted, "Wow....what a night!! Appreciate all the love and support from @Dodgers fans. Pretty much all else I can really say is.....Thanks Vin!!!"
That Tweet was then retweeted more than 300 times.
As for how many times he was mentioned on Twitter during and after the game, he wasn't sure how to figure that out.
"I'm not too familiar with how to navigate Twitter," Ellis said with a laugh. "I know how to tweet and I know how to retweet. That's about it."
For those keeping score at home, Ellis might need some more help from Scully and a few more multi-homer games to catch his teammate Kemp. Despite the jump in followers, Ellis is still about 184,000 followers behind the center fielder, who has sent out almost 1,700 more tweets than his teammate.
Blanton's experience in stretch run valuable to LA
LOS ANGELES -- Four years ago, Joe Blanton was traded to a Philadelphia Phillies team on the brink of being a World Series contender in the middle of the season and helped lead it to the title.
In a similar situation, he's hopeful he has some magic left in him after being traded to the Dodgers on Friday.
"I was fortunate enough to get traded over there from Oakland in 2008 and won a World Series," Blanton said. "Hopefully history will repeat itself for me."
Blanton was scheduled to start for the Phillies on Friday, and it was only about three hours before first pitch when he found out he had been traded.
"I walk in and start to get ready and [general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.] walks in and calls me over," he said. "As soon as he does that, I kind of figure something is up."
With ace Clayton Kershaw already scheduled to pitch Saturday, the veteran righty will get his first shot at helping the Dodgers reach the postseason when he makes his debut Sunday against the Cubs. Chris Capuano will still start Monday while Aaron Harang moves back in the rotation to Tuesday to get an extra day of rest.
Blanton, like Shane Victorino, brings playoff experience to a Los Angeles team that entered Saturday trailing the Giants by a half-game in the National League West. Blanton went 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA in 13 regular-season starts for the Phillies in 2008 after the midseason trade, and Philadelphia went 9-4 in Blanton's starts en route to a World Series title.
This season has been a bit of a struggle at times for the veteran. He is 8-9 with a 4.59 ERA, but six of his last eight outings have been quality starts.
Blanton was pleased with how he started the year but said he started rushing to the plate too quickly, which left his pitches up in the zone and ultimately led to too many home runs.
He said he has worked past that mechanical flaw and pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium should be welcoming in comparison to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
"This is a great place to pitch," he said. "Being in California, you get that cool air at night. The ball doesn't travel as well as it does in Philly."
De La Rosa sharp for two innings in rehab start
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Rubby De La Rosa pitched two hitless and scoreless innings with four strikeouts in his second Minor League rehab start Saturday night for Class A Rancho Cucamonga at Lake Elsinore.
De La Rosa, who pitched three scoreless innings last Sunday, was removed early after an extended game delay because home-plate umpire Bryan Fields was injured. He walked one batter.
De La Rosa is recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction and is being used as a starting pitcher to rebuild arm strength rather than as a reliever. De La Rosa could be recalled sooner if the Dodgers need a reliever or later if they should need a starter in September.
Manager Don Mattingly said the bullpen could be a possibility for Ted Lilly if the lefty can return at some point this season from the shoulder pain that landed him on the disabled list on May 24. He said that option might work well since Lilly wouldn't need to work back to being able to throw 100 pitches, but he said making sure the veteran is healthy and able to throw without pain is the most important thing.
Left-hander Michael Antonini, who was designated for assignment after the Dodgers' trade for Hanley Ramirez, cleared waivers and he was outrighted to Triple-A Albuquerque.