Heading into the second weekend of June, the crazy carousel which we call the Dodgers disabled list takes another positive turn, this time promising to dip into the single digits by the end of the current homestand.
On Wednesday evening, righty pitcher Brock Stewart was finally reinstated to the 40-man roster after starting the season on the DL with shoulder tendinitis. He was immediately optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he assumed the roster spot of pitcher Chris Heston, who was designated for assignment earlier the same day. Heston was promptly claimed off waivers by the Twins, and was instantly called up to Minnesota’s major league roster. While Stewart will probably serve as starting rotation depth for OKC, he may have a better chance contributing to the big league squad as a reliever should the club have a need down the road.
Lefty Alex Wood will be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday evening to make the start in the middle game of the Reds’ series. Before his neck injury, Wood went 6-0 with a 1.69 ERA in eight starts over 10 games. His 25-1/3 scoreless inning streak, the longest in the majors this season, will still be intact upon his return to the rotation. The Dodgers will need to make a corresponding roster move before the southpaw is officially activated.
Third baseman Justin Turner appears to be ready to return and most likely will be reinstated for Friday’s opener against Cincinnati. Turner’s offensive presence has been missed terribly by the Dodgers ever since being placed on the disabled list on May 19 with a right hamstring strain. The 32-year-old Long Beach native participated in a sim game on Wednesday, and convinced all those in attendance that’s he’s healthy enough to join the squad.
“It went well,” manager Dave Roberts said of Turner’s performance. “JT really got after it. Running around, getting dirty and sliding. I expect him to be sore, but hopefully it plays out that he’ll be active on Friday. It was good to see the energy level today.”
Outfielder Joc Pederson, who was once believed to be on a similar timetable to Turner, will finally begin a rehab assignment this weekend after missing time from a concussion he sustained in a collision with teammate Yasiel Puig last month. Roberts said that because of the nature of the injury, Pederson’s rehab process will be slower than normal, possibly utilizing a break in action at least every other day in the beginning. Roberts also pointed out that the extended length of the assignment may be used to help Pederson attempt to improve his focus at the plate, as well as giving him an opportunity to sharpen his swing mechanics.
Last Sunday, lefty reliever Luis Avilan began his own rehab assignment with Oklahoma City, pitching one full inning in his first action since being placed on the disabled list on May 25 with soreness in his left triceps. In the contest against Colorado Springs, the southpaw threw a total of 23 pitches and surrendered two earned runs after allowing a walk and one hit. He also made an appearance on Tuesday against the Iowa Cubs, when he threw one perfect frame of relief which included one strikeout.
Barring any other injuries, the Dodgers’ disabled list count could be decreased to eight players with the returns of Wood and Turner this weekend, after holding strong in double digits for the better part of six weeks.
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