It seemed easy to assume Chris Hatcher’s return to the Dodgers bullpen on Friday after the birth of his son on Thursday meant Adam Liberatore’s stay in the major leagues would last all of one day.
The Dodgers instead decided to keep an eighth reliever and send down catcher Austin Barnes. It didn’t hurt that Liberatore became just the second lefty in the bullpen when he arrived from Triple-A on Thursday. He struck out four of the six batters he faced in the minors, but Liberatore wasn’t thrilled that he landed there in the first place.
“I obviously wasn’t happy about it, but I’m not going to sit here and say ‘One of these guys should be here and I shouldn’t.’” he said. “I felt like I had a strong spring and I just wanted to keep doing my thing and hope for a quick call-up.” Continue reading
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s rehabilitation schedule was pushed back again, this time because the Dodgers pitcher has suffered a groin strain. A potentially vital piece of the starting rotation, Ryu’s original prognosis after surgery on a torn labrum May 21 was a return to throwing in spring training and to the Dodgers rotation very early in the season.
After the groin strain delayed the bullpen session scheduled for this weekend, he is no closer to filling a crucial role behind ace Clayton Kershaw.
“I think the whole time we thought we were going to have him back sooner, but there was a setback early in spring, middle of spring,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And then with this, it’s technically a setback. I don’t know how severe the injury is. We need him back, but we need him back healthy.” Continue reading
A strained left oblique landed Chris Hatcher among the parade of Dodgers relievers on the disabled list Wednesday along with Joel Peralta, Brandon League, Pedro Baez and Paco Rodriguez, who are all currently on rehabilitation assignments in the minor leagues.
The good news for the Dodgers is that outfielder Scott Van Slyke returned Wednesday from back inflammation that shelved him 18 games to replace Hatcher on the roster and immediately earn a spot in the lineup.
Hatcher could benefit from a breather considering his 1-4 record and 6.38 ERA in 27 appearances this season. The 30-year-old suffered a mild oblique strain during the ⅔ of an inning he pitched in Sunday’s 14-inning win over the Padres.
“I didn’t feel it on any one pitch,” Hatcher said. “The oblique is one of those things where, if it doesn’t get rest, it’s probably
going to get worse.”
The Dodgers can take solace in avoiding the loss of another reliever to the disabled list.
Manager Don Mattingly said the Dodgers bullpen was short-handed as of Tuesday night, but Dodgers reliever Juan Nicasio said that didn’t include him. The right-hander professed his availability despite a finger nail still healing from half of it being torn off the middle finger of his throwing hand in a 6-3 loss at Colorado June 2.
Nicasio further assured himself of his readiness during a 20-pitch bullpen prior to Wednesday’s game during which he threw all his pitches, including the off-speed pitches he wasn’t able to throw following the injury.
“I’m feeling comfortable with my breaking ball, 100 percent now,” Nicasio said. “I threw about 20 pitches (Wednesday) just to get the feeling for my breaking ball and it feels good, ready to go.”