(Photo Credit: koreatimesus.com)
If the current five members of the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ starting rotation can find a way to battle and stay effective for about another four to six weeks, veteran help may be arriving to provide some much needed vigor and support. However, if one or more of the present starters takes a turn for the worse, the club may have to turn to the farm as an alternative in the interim.
Righty Brandon McCarthy, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery administered early last season, will be ready to face live hitters at some point next week. He threw a monitored bullpen session on Monday at Dodger Stadium, featuring a mix of four different pitches.
Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts stood in the batters box while McCarthy was throwing, trying to get a better feel and perspective for the movement on the 32-year-old’s pitches.
“Brandon looked really good,” Roberts said. “Velocity was good, I think he got up to 89 with his fastball. He was throwing fastball, change, breaking ball, cutter for three innings.”
Hyun-jin Ryu is on a near identical schedule to that of McCarthy. He will throw his final monitored session on Tuesday before facing hitters next week. Ryu had been in Arizona since spring training rehabbing from shoulder surgery performed last year, but struggled with a groin injury briefly that pushed him back several weeks.
“When you’re rehabbing alone, it’s tough to be rehabbing,” Roberts added. “But when you have somebody who is around, and you can push each other, it makes it a little easier. They’re on similar schedules. So I would think it makes it a little bit easier. They’re both doing well.”
Meanwhile, Mike Bolsinger made his first rehab start on Saturday for Oklahoma City against Colorado Springs. He threw 46 pitches over four innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs, while striking out three and walking none.
Bolsinger has been out since spring training with a strained oblique. Although he shouldn’t need a high number of rehab starts before being cleared to return, it’s not guaranteed that he’ll be added to the Dodgers’ rotation. He’ll most likely throw again in the Round Rock series sometime later in the week.
Despite a strong showing by Ross Stripling on Sunday, it’s safe to say that anyone not named Clayton Kershaw or Kenta Maeda could possibly be looked at in terms of any performance-related type of move. It’s also important to remember that Stripling is on a pre-determined innings limit that was set before the season began. Both Stripling and Alex Wood have options.
Scott Kazmir, who has now given up nine home runs on the season and exhibits a 5.56 FIP and 1.420 WHIP through seven starts, says his mechanics are fine, and that he’s still confident in his ability to throw effectively.
“It hasn’t gone the way I wanted, that’s for sure. But I’m really close to where I want to be,” Kazmir said after Monday’s loss to the Mets. “I’m confident out there, I know exactly what I’m doing. It’s just a matter of executing.”
As far as alternate options on the farm, 19-year-old lefty Julio Urias appears to be poised to join the big league roster when called upon. Like Stripling, Urias is presumably on a specific innings count, and has already been mentioned by Roberts as a possible choice to help in the bullpen, although a spot start couldn’t be ruled out.
In five starts this season, Urias boasts a 1.50 ERA and a 0.800 WHIP over 30 innings of work, striking out 33 batters while only walking six. He has a career 2.75 ERA, 10.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 spanning 61 starts in the minors.
Wood, who has a 1.29 ERA at home this season compared to a 8.05 ERA on the road, hopes for a solid outing on Tuesday night when opposing Jacob deGrom of the Mets.
First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. local time.