The Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday evening reinstated left-handed pitcher Adam Liberatore from the 10-day disabled list and placed left-handed pitcher Luis Avilán on the 10-day disabled list with a left triceps. Avilan’s placement on the DL will be retroactive to May 24, if needed.
Liberatore, who missed 14 games due to a left groin strain, last pitched on May 8 against the Pirates and tossed a perfect inning of relief with one strikeout. In two relief appearances in the big leagues this season, he has allowed one run over 1-1/3 innings and has held opposing batters to a .200 average (1-for-5). Liberatore started the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, going 0-1 with a 0.93 ERA (1 ER/9.2 IP) and has limited the opposition to a .152 average, while striking out nine against one walk in eight games.
Avilán last pitched on May 23 against the Cardinals, allowing one hit in an inning of relief with one strikeout. He has made 23 relief appearances this season, going 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA (5 ER/15.0 IP) and has stuck out 20 batters against eight walks.
Earlier on Thursday afternoon, the club activated righty pitcher Kenta Maeda after placing outfielder Joc Pederson on the 7-day concussion list.
(Dai Sugiura provided the majority of information furnished in this report)
As avid followers of the Dodgers, many fans often know which relievers aren’t the most reliable out of the bullpen without needing to dig heavily into specific player statistics. At the same time, it’s difficult to comprehend that the Los Angeles relief corps still ranks second in the National League with a sub-3.00 ERA while having two or more relievers who seemingly are mainly utilized in low-leverage situations.
While most pieces of the bullpen have shown flashes of brilliance during the young 2017 campaign, Friday evening’s implosion against the Diamondbacks left many fans of the Dodgers wondering if the relief corps has the structural integrity to hold up over the long haul, or if the front office crew will feel the need to go shopping for a few upgrades before the trade deadline arrives in July.
When long man Alex Wood was recently shifted back into the starting rotation and righty Josh Fields was recalled to the big league bullpen, a popular topic of conversation among fans of the Dodgers was the discussion surrounding the organizational depth of relief pitchers.
Outside of a dreary evening against Padres’ starter Clayton Richard on Tuesday, the Dodgers‘ opening series of the 2017 campaign turned out to be quite productive. Three wins in four games is a solid outcome for Los Angeles, as the crew now prepares to carry its momentum to the mountains of Denver for a three-game set against the Rockies.
While quite a number of spots on the Dodgers‘ 25-man roster are presumably set in stone, the bullpen is still a complex gray area that’s loaded with plenty of question marks. Yet after the dust finally settles at the end of March, versatile righty Ross Stripling may have found a spot among the big league relief corps.
As many media outlets of the Dodgers have already ventured some sort of guess regarding the Opening Day 25-man roster, most are in agreement that there’s a good chance the club elects to carry a traditional seven-man bullpen to begin the season. But although there haven’t been many hints by management in terms of a preferred direction, an eight-man relief corps is certainly still in the realm of possibility.
When the Dodgers signed veteran righty Brandon Morrow to a minor league deal back in January, it didn’t create much buzz among the fan base, much less signify any type of major upgrade in the bullpen. However, if the 32-year-old Santa Rosa native can conceivably put his injuries behind him and earn a spot on the club’s 25-man roster, the relief corps just might end up being a bit stronger.