It took 10 games into the regular season, but the Dodgers finally made their first official roster transaction of the year, recalling right-handed fireballer Dennis Santana and optioning righty swing man Brock Stewart to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The move came ahead of Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies in Denver.
The reasoning seems to be twofold.
First, lefty Julio Urias is still on a relatively short leash as far as innings go.
The 22-year-old lefty threw phenomenally in his first outing of the year last week against the Giants, going an even five innings while striking out seven and walking none. However, there’s still speculation regarding the approach that management will take in terms of his innings limit in light of his continued recovery from UCL surgery.
Moreover, a fresh arm in the relief corps of the Dodgers would be tremendously beneficial. In Saturday’s contest, Los Angeles used six different relievers in the win while using seven relievers in the victory on Friday.
At this point, Santana could be the perfect candidate to piggy-back Urias, potentially providing multiple innings of work.
The second reason is that Brock Stewart has simply been ineffective.
The 27-year-old Stewart has given up eight runs on nine hits—two of them home runs— and two walks over the three games he has thrown so far this year.
It is still unknown whether Stewart will join the starting rotation or throw in relief upon his arrival to Oklahoma City.
Still only 22-years-old, Santana made his big league debut last year but was shut down in June with a severe rotator cuff injury.
Ironically, Santana’s lone appearance for the Dodgers came in Colorado last season, where he threw 3-2/3 innings and registered the win in the team’s 11-8 victory. His numbers on the mound weren’t exactly spectacular, but he is remembered by many for the two-run double he slugged off Tyler Anderson in his only AB of the contest.
Across two levels of the farm last year, Santana made 10 total appearances, posting a 2.54 ERA with a whopping 65 strikeouts over 49-2/3 innings.