Dodgers acquire Schumaker to fortify bench

By Ken Gurnick / 12/12/12 5:53 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers checked another box off their winter shopping list on Wednesday by acquiring utility man Skip Schumaker from the St. Louis Cardinals for Minor League shortstop Jake Lemmerman.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Schumaker, the Dodgers designated for assignment outfielder Scott Van Slyke.
Having reshaped the starting rotation with the weekend signings of Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, general manager Ned Colletti has obtained a versatile bench player in Schumaker, who becomes the fourth outfielder capable of backing up Matt Kemp in center field, as well as Mark Ellis at second base.
Schumaker, who will be 33 when Spring Training begins, has spent his entire eight-year career with the Cardinals. He hit .276 with a .339 on-base percentage in 107 games in 2012 and is a .288 career hitter. He is owed $1.5 million for 2013, the final year of a two-year contract.
A left-handed hitter, Schumaker is a devotee of new Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire, who was instrumental in the Dodgers targeting Schumaker. Schumaker and McGwire live in Orange County, and Schumaker has worked with the coach over the past few offseasons.
The Dodgers spoke with the Cardinals about Schumaker at last week's Winter Meetings, but Colletti wanted to resolve the team's starting-pitching targets first.
Schumaker debuted with the Cardinals in 2005, became an outfield starter in '08 and moved to second base in '09. His playing time disappeared in '12 with the emergence of Daniel Descalso.
Lemmerman is a fifth-round pick in 2010 out of Duke University. He hit .233 in 116 games at Double-A Chattanooga in 2012.
The Dodgers remain in the market for a situational left-handed reliever and a right-handed-hitting backup corner infielder. Schumaker joins Jerry Hairston Jr., who is coming off hip surgery, and Nick Punto as the primary veteran bench players.