LOS ANGELES -- Being the sixth starter in a five-man rotation is no career goal, but it had been a pretty good gig for Stephen Fife this year until two things happened.
First, he flopped in a trial as a reliever at Triple-A Albuquerque. Second, concerned about Fife's struggles and intrigued by the availability of former 17-game winner Edinson Volquez, the Dodgers signed Volquez, who has taken Fife's sixth-starter role.
Fife said there are no hard feelings, even though he and Volquez have the same agent, Len Strelitz.
"I think it's all great," said Fife. "I would have chosen to [sign with the Dodgers] if I was him. It's the place to be, a dynamic play going in the right direction. If he can help us win one more game, it's all worth it."
Of course, Fife wouldn't mind the chance to do the same. He's 4-3 with a 2.47 ERA in nine starts as an on-call emergency starter for the Dodgers. But known for his peculiar and rigid pre-start routine, Fife was a fish out of water as a reliever with four runs allowed in four innings.
When returned to the Albuquerque rotation, he was "haywire," manager Don Mattingly said, and allowed six runs in a one-third inning start. He spent the next two starts trying to regroup.
"It was different for sure," he said of relieving. "Mentally, I didn't know how to handle it. I felt fine, but I got out of synch with my mechanics. It was a mental battle for me. No excuse or reason. I was thinking mechanical instead of attacking hitters and I realized all that and got back to keeping it simple."
Mattingly said he's not sure what Fife's role will be in September.
Determined Gordon returns to Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers Sunday recalled Dee Gordon. Remember him?
In 2011 he was the best prospect in the organization. In 2012 he was the Opening Day starting shortstop. But his bat regressed, he tore up his thumb, the Dodgers dealt for Hanley Ramirez and Gordon's career hit the wall. He spent all but 25 games at Triple-A this year.
"It's been crazy," he said.
But if you think Gordon is bitter about the dramatic change in his career path, listen to this.
"That's the situation I'm presented and I've just handled it," said Gordon. "You've got to be a man sometimes."
Gordon admits that he got down last year after the injury was followed by the Ramirez trade. But his approach this year was positive.
"I might not have the highest batting average [.297], but I've gotten better as a hitter," he said. "There's a process now to the way I play. I'm a lot better on the defensive side. I've worked on that and seen the results. It's been awesome.
"I know I'm a better player. I'm definitely a stronger man for this. I'm not trying to pull the God card, but I'm better with God, too. I can definitely say this: good has come out of this."
Dodgers add Butera, four others from Albuquerque
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers promoted five players from Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday as rosters expanded for September.
Drew Butera, acquired from Minnesota on July 31, will be the third catcher behind A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz.
Scott Van Slyke provides a potent right-handed bat and can play outfield while Matt Kemp's rehab drags on. He also can play first base, but so can newly acquired Michael Young.
Dee Gordon, once the starting shortstop, can also be utilized as a pinch-runner because of his speed. He spent two stints with the Dodgers this year.
Stephen Fife was expected to be a sixth starter until the recent signing of Edinson Volquez. He struggled in his latest time with the Isotopes.
Peter Moylan has made 10 appearances with the Dodgers this year and has late-inning experience with Atlanta.
Reliever Chris Withrow, sent down Friday, will be recalled Tuesday, the first day he is eligible to return.
• Newly acquired infielder Michael Young will join the Dodgers in Denver for Monday's series opener with the Rockies. Manager Don Mattingly said he spoke with Young Saturday night and reiterated that he doesn't view Young as an everyday player at this point in his career.
• The Dodgers sold Minor League outfielder Rusty Ryal to the Angels.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.