(Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports)
The Dodgers will take another step in attempting to bolster their starting rotation on Thursday when the club activates lefty Hyun-jin Ryu from the 60-day disabled list to start the series opener against the Padres.
Manager Dave Roberts confirmed the transaction in Monday’s pregame chat with the media.
Ryu missed all of last season after having shoulder surgery to repair a torn right labrum. The lefty had to take a few weeks off in the middle of his rehab due to shoulder soreness, but he got back on the mound on June 12 and has since taken all of his scheduled turns. In his last rehab start, the 29-year-old southpaw threw six strong innings for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, surrendering five hits and two earned runs while striking out three and walking none. Ryu made a total of eight rehab starts since the beginning of May.
In terms of velocity, several different sources had Ryu’s fastball sitting anywhere from 88-91 MPH. Team scouts had indicated before his last start that they’d feel much more comfortable slotting him into the big league rotation once he was able to hold his speed over the 90 MPH mark. In the past, he featured the four traditional pitches in his repertoire, and besides a plus-plus change, frequently changed the speeds and cutting angles on his heater as his main weapon of deception.
Ryu’s comeback will be the second in a week for the Dodgers, joining Brandon McCarthy, who pitched five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts on Sunday, earning the win and sealing the series sweep against the Rockies.
Although it hasn’t yet been confirmed by club officials, many pundits are assuming that 19-year-old lefty Julio Urias will be optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City before Tuesday’s game, despite a few rumblings that the Dodgers may consider utilizing a six-man rotation in the time remaining before the All-Star break.
“We haven’t officially decided yet, but we’ll probably send him out,” Roberts said after Monday’s game. “We haven’t decided on the corresponding move yet.”
The team hasn’t yet revealed its future plans for Urias. Some believe he may throw out of the OKC bullpen, while others think he may be shut down completely and sent to Glendale for conditioning and fitness purposes. He’s already thrown 77-1/3 innings this season, just three frames short of his total for all of 2015.
Since being called up on May 27, Urias has made eight starts for the Dodgers, recording a 4.95 ERA and a 3.58 FIP, while striking out 44 batters over 36-1/3 innings of work.
With Ryu back in the mix, and staff ace Clayton Kershaw on the shelf for an undetermined amount of time nursing a back injury, the Dodgers rotation now lines up with Kenta Maeda throwing Tuesday, Bud Norris taking the hill Wednesday, Ryu on Thursday, followed by Scott Kazmir and McCarthy at the weekend.
As far as starting pitching depth at the Triple-A level, the Dodgers are almost back at full strength, with Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart, Jharel Cotton, Trevor Oaks and Jose De Leon filling out the rotation at Oklahoma City.