The Dodgers have had their pitching depth tested not only at the major league level but in the minors as well. To help rectify the issue, the club has signed right-handed pitcher Anthony Ortega to a minor league contract.
Ortega joins Triple-A Albuquerque, where he will replace the just promoted Stephen Fife on the roster.
The Dodgers placed three starting pitchers on the disabled list in a 10-day period, beginning with Zack Greinke breaking his collarbone in San Diego. Chris Capuano suffered a left calf strain on Apr. 16, and Chad Billingsley was scratched from his Sunday start and placed on the DL with pain and tightness in his right elbow.
Ortega, 27, missed all of 2012 after Tommy John surgery, and last pitched in the minors in 2011, putting up an 8.23 ERA in 35 innings for the Angels' Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake. Ortega had a cup of coffee with the Angels early in the 2009 season, but he had a 9.24 ERA with 25 baserunners allowed in 12⅔ innings in the major leagues.
The Royals signed Ortega to a minor league contract in November, but he was released from their Triple-A affiliate in Omaha on Thursday.
Fife, who allowed four runs in 4⅔ innings in a no-decision on Sunday in Baltimore, seems likely to stick around with the Dodgers at least until Capuano is back. Whether that is one or two starts, or more, depends on how quickly Capuano recovers from his strained left calf. Fife is tentatively scheduled to start on Saturday against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium, and the earliest Capuano could return from the disabled list is May 2.
In other news, the Dodgers added to their amateur international haul last week with the signing of three players from the Dominican Republic, the club announced. The Dodgers signed right-handed pitchers Osiris Ramirez from Puerto Plata and Angel German from Bani, and also inked third baseman Jimy Perez from Bani. The international signing period runs from July 2 to June 15 every year.