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Mattingly did use a pinch runner eventually, when the bases were loaded with one out. Erisbel Arruebarrena took Ellis’ place at third base, and barely had to move as Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe struck out.
Not only did he throw a perfect game, Rodriguez didn’t feel any of the usual soreness in his strained teres major muscle near his left armpit Wednesday morning.
“I feel good right now,” he said. “I was a little sore, but hopefully that’s the usual soreness.”
The pitcher said he’ll throw a simulated game Friday prior to the Dodgers’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Rodriguez had been having trouble the day after each of his previous bullpen sessions. The positive prognosis puts Paco on track to fulfill his mid-September return.
Rodriguez has a 4.35 ERA in 10 ⅓ innings (13 appearances) this season. He hasn’t pitched in a game since August 3.
In a sense, it’s the antithesis of a low-pressure scenario: The rubber match of a three-game September series against the best team (by record) in the National League.
“You’re not looking at him to be Kershaw and go 8 or 9 (innings),” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “I think that we’re looking for him to give us a quality start, get us through the lineup a couple times hopefully and see where we’re at.”
Frias has allowed nine runs in 14 ⅓ innings this season, all in relief, for a 5.65 ERA. Already in his brief major-league career he’s thrown six pitches (fastball, sinker, cutter, changeup, slider, curveball) and that typically plays better for a starter than a reliever.
Not coincidentally, Tim Federowicz is starting at catcher for the first time since June 12. Federowicz caught Frias so often in Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he joked that he’s practically Frias’ “personal catcher.”
“He’s been going six or seven innings every start,” Federowicz said. “I’ll get him there.”
Just a reminder: The game begins at noon on SportsNet LA and MLB Network (outside the SNLA markets).