Stripling threw 71 ⅓ innings last season after his June return from Tommy John rehab. He’s on an innings limit this year that the team isn’t willing to disclose; Stripling guessed it would fall somewhere in the 100 to 150-inning range.
Regardless, the decision to start Stripling’s “innings clock” right away has consequences for the other starting pitchers on the organizational depth chart.
Urias, who turns 20 in August, threw 80 ⅓ innings across four levels last year. If his “clock” starts now, it’s less likely that Urias would be allowed to pitch for the Dodgers later in the season — but perhaps more likely that he could make his major league debut early with a hot start at Triple-A.
Right-hander Jose De Leon will begin the season in extended spring training and report to an affiliate team at a later juncture. The 23-year-old prospect is on an innings limit himself. He threw 114 ⅓ innings across two levels last season, so a prolonged layoff could leave him in line for a second half call-up if he pitches well at Triple-A.
De Leon will be joined at Camelback Ranch by right-hander Yaisel Sierra. Scouts who have watched the Cuban right-hander believe he has potential but lacks polish — not a surprise considering he hasn’t pitched at a competitive level since 2014. Sierra signed a six-year, $30 million contract in the off-season. Whenever he’s ready, he could potentially join the Dodgers as either a starter or a reliever.
The rehab schedules of Brandon Beachy (elbow), Mike Bolsinger (oblique), Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder) and Brandon McCarthy (elbow) could also help fill out the Dodgers’ minor-league rotations early in the season.
Those schedules are staggered too: Beachy and Bolsinger should be ready to pitch in rehab league games sometime this month. Ryu might too, if he doesn’t experience another setback. He’s scheduled to face live hitters for the first time Thursday.
McCarthy is still a candidate to return just before the All-Star break, a timetable that would have him pitching in minor-league games by May.
Of course, any setback among the injured pitchers — or another injury to the major league staff — could force the Dodgers to adjust things on the fly. For now, though, that’s the plan.