Not that it needs much help, but the Dodgers’ bullpen is about to get bigger.
Left-hander Scott Elbert, on the disabled list since Aug. 29 with inflammation in his left elbow, is scheduled to throw a simulated game tomorrow. It could be the final tuneup he needs before returning to action.
“If he’s good,” manager Don Mattingly said, “we’ll probably roll with him.”
Randy Choate and Paco Rodriguez are currently the only healthy left-handers in the Dodger bullpen. Choate has appeared in 26 of the Dodgers’ 44 games since he arrived in a trade with Miami, which projects to a 96-game pace over a full season. That’s not grounds for overuse when you’re only facing one or two batters a game, but having another veteran left-hander to complement the rookie Rodriguez will only benefit Choate.
Kenley Jansen, meanwhile, is scheduled to meet with a doctor tomorrow to get “final clearance” to resume practicing with the team. Because he’s been taking prescription blood thinners, Jansen has been unable to take the field –anywhere he could be struck by a batted ball. He could pitch as early as Tuesday in Washington.
The news was bad (again) for left-hander Ted Lilly, whose simulated game Thursday was cancelled. He’s expected to meet with a doctor tonight. It’s unclear what the medical reason was but Mattingly said that it’s “not necessarily a setback.” Lilly hasn’t pitched since May 23.
In their last eight innings dating to Saturday, Dodger relievers have not allowed a run.
Two things you should know about new Dodgers pitcher Steven Rodriguez:
1. Only his mother calls him Steven. Everyone else calls him “Paco.”
2. He is not here to learn.
According to manager Don Mattingly, the 21-year-old could serve a valuable role out of the bullpen immediately. Because of injuries to Scott Elbert and Ted Lilly, Rodriguez joins Randy Choate as the Dodgers’ only healthy lefty reliever.
No 2012 draft pick has pitched in a major-league game yet, so Rodriguez was understandably surprised.
“Yesterday I was eating with our bullpen catcher back in Chattanooga and De Jon (Watson, the Dodgers’ farm director) calls me and says, ‘hey I’ve got some bad news for you.’
“I said, ‘what’s going on?’ And he’s like, ‘you’re going to have to drop your food, go pack your (belongings) and come in to L.A.’ My heart just started beating fast. A great feeling. Then I just called my parents, let them know I was coming up.”
Chad Billingsley was transferred to the 60-day disabled list Wednesday, ending his season.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hinted yesterday that the right-hander could be shut down, so perhaps the best news of the day is that the “slight tearing” in the ulnar collateral ligament of Billingsley’s right elbow might not need surgery.
“There’s a chance, but from the time I had my first PRP [injection] it feels pretty good,” Billingsley said.
Billingsley had a second PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection Wednesday. If his recovery goes as well as anticipated, he can begin a throwing program in two weeks.
The Dodgers recalled Steven Rodriguez from Double-A Chattanooga. The 2012 second-round draft pick was 1-0 with five saves and a 0.92 ERA (2 ER/19.2 IP) in 21 combined relief appearances with Single-A Great Lakes and Double-A Chattanooga.