Pedro Baez‘s locker stall at Dodger Stadium never went anywhere the last week. Yet for the first time since he was demoted to Double-A Tulsa, Baez was there.
The right-handed reliever was recalled prior to Tuesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers have 33 players on their active roster now, including 13 relief pitchers. The clubhouse is running out of lockers. Maybe it’s a good thing Baez’s was never given away.
One curious thing about Baez’s time at Double-A: He didn’t appear in any of the Drillers’ seven games after he was optioned, but before the Texas League season ended.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that Baez did some side work there, “just more fastball command, working on that changeup.”
“(Baez’s) changeup the last three weeks has been a ball out of hand,” Roberts said. “His best secondary [pitch] is a changeup. If he can get that over for a strike, get the swing and miss and the fastball location, and a little bit to back off his innings, was the point.”
Baez had a 2.55 ERA on August 7 before he regressed significantly, allowing 11 runs in his next 11 games. The Dodgers believe usage might have played a role. Baez appeared in 52 regular season games last season. The August 8 game that marked the beginning of his descent was his 52nd game this season.
Roberts believes having 13 relievers this time around will help ease Baez’s workload.
“The pace will naturally be backed off because we have more arms,” Roberts said. “I’m looking forward to getting him into a game, seeing how he’s responded to being down in Tulsa. Less usage, kind of resetting.”
Baez did not make himself available for questions before Tuesday’s game.