The Dodgers had several candidates for their fifth starter’s job in the final weeks of spring training. Three of them are currently rehabbing injuries, one (Ross Stripling) got the job and the other (Zach Lee) is healthy and pitching at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Among the trio of injured pitchers, Mike Bolsinger is most likely pitcher to return first, manager Dave Roberts said. The right-hander is throwing from 90 feet off flat ground. He essentially re-started his spring throwing program after being sidelined with a strained muscle in his abdominal/oblique area; progress has been slow but Bolsinger hasn’t had any setbacks since.
Right-handers Brandon Beachy (elbow) and Carlos Frias (back) are both rehabbing injuries too, but Roberts didn’t have an update on either today. That means neither pitcher is particularly close to returning.
Lee, 24, was OKC’s rotation anchor last season, going 11-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 19 starts.
He battled to the final week for a spot in the major league rotation, but ultimately lost out to rookie Ross Stripling.
His work and schedule made him the choice for Thursday.
“It’s just coming out of spring training it’s the way they have him lined up,” [manager Bill] Haselman said. “I don’t think it was a decision over anybody in particular. It’s just a process of what falls into place.”
Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias, center, could see his innings clock expire before a September call-up is possible. (Getty Images)
Along with today’s announcement that Ross Stripling is the Dodgers’ fifth starter came a bit of insight into the team’s strategy for monitoring starting pitcher workloads.
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.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts named Ross Stripling his fifth starter on Friday, saying the rookie right-hander will start April 8 in San Francisco and remain in the rotation “in the near term.”
Stripling, who has never pitched a game above Double-A in his life, beat out two pitchers with major league experience: Carlos Frias and Zach Lee. Frias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he’ll be joined by Lee.
Lee is at Dodger Stadium. He will pitch in relief of Alex Wood on Saturday in Anaheim before returning to the minors. Continue reading →