clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dodgers to replace Brandon McCarthy in rotation from within, for now

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers were already dealing with one hole in their starting rotation with Hyun-jin Ryu out, but were dealt an even larger blow on Monday with news that Brandon McCarthy is out for the season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

But as the off days become fewer and far between and the Dodgers needing to rely on all five spots of their rotation, the club in the short term plans on filling the gaps from within their system rather than via trade.

"Historically April and May trades are pretty uncommon. For the most part we're going to work from inside. We have a number of really interesting candidates," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Monday. "Mike Bolsinger came up and pitched very well, Scott Baker pitched well yesterday. Carlos Frias, Joe Wieland, Zach Lee are all pitching really well.

"We'll take some time and focus internally right now and see what we have. Then we'll wake up in June after scouting everyone for the next 4-6 weeks, then go from there."

Keeping it internal for now means the Triple-A Oklahoma City rotation is all in play.

What we know now is that Baker, who was called up Sunday and pitched seven innings, allowing three runs in a loss in the series finale in San Diego, will remain in the rotation for the time being, which makes sense because Baker is out of options.

Baker will pitch either Friday or Saturday against the Diamondbacks, after Brett Anderson, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke pitch in the Giants series.

Because of Thursday's off day, if the Dodgers use Baker Friday, they could slot everyone in after him and not need a fifth starter until May 5. But because Thursday is the last off day before a 17-day stretch of games and the start of a string of 6 games in 27 days, the club could slot in another starter on Friday, then Baker on Saturday, giving everyone an extra day of rest.

"Right now we're just focused on Friday and Saturday, figuring out what we're going to do there," Friedman said. "We have a number of guys who are throwing well with compelling upside stories and have a chance to come up and help us win games. Having to figure out who that's going to be and specific matchups against certain teams, that's a good thing.

"It's why depth is so important, and why having it on hand is very valuable."

Frias is one of the potential starters already on hand, on the active roster currently in the bullpen, though with these Dodgers that could change at any moment.

One person who isn't in consideration for a call-up is Julio Urias, dominating Double-A Tulsa at age 18. Urias has allowed five runs in four starts this year (a 2.18 ERA) for the Drillers, with 26 strikeouts and three walks in 20⅔ innings. He struck out 10 on Monday night, allowing only one hit while facing the minimum 18 batters in six innings.

"We're happy with where he is in his development to date, not biting off too much," Friedman said. "But it's fairly safe to say he won't be called up."

Scheduled starters this week for Triple-A Oklahoma City are Lee and Bolsinger in a doubleheader Tuesday, David Huff on Thursday and Wieland on Friday. Oklahoma City is off on Wednesday.

So far the Dodgers have had three spot starts made by pitchers called up from Triple-A - Huff, who is now off the 40-man roster, on April 14; Bolsinger on April 23; and Baker on Sunday. That trio has combined to allow eight runs on 16 hits in 16⅔ innings (a 4.32 ERA), with 13 strikeouts and five walks, with four of the eight runs allowed by Huff in four innings.

Baker, Lee, Wieland, Bolsinger and Frias have combined this year for a 1.61 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City, with 80 strikeouts and 10 walks in 72⅔ innings.

At least one of them will have a larger role on the big club in the near term.

"We still feel good about our club. We just have to find a way to get it done," said manager Don Mattingly. "Somebody has to step forward and pitch well, and that's really what we're expecting."