The Dodgers on Thursday designated relief pitcher Brandon League for assignment after missing three months with a right shoulder impingement.
League was diagnosed during spring training with right shoulder inflammation, and opted for rest and rehab as an alternative to surgery, which could have wiped out his season. He pitched in 10 total games in 24 days between Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City on a rehab assignment, allowing three runs (one earned) on 10 hits in 10⅔ innings, with eight strikeouts and two walks.
The 32-year-old right-hander last pitched on Tuesday for Oklahoma City, throwing eight pitches in a scoreless inning. The 30 days of his rehab assignment would have ended Monday, with the Dodgers needing to decide by Tuesday whether to add him back to the roster.
There simply wasn't room for League in the current Dodgers bullpen. The highest ERA among the seven current active Dodgers relievers is 3.60 by Yimi Garcia, who also sports a 3.31 FIP and is fourth among major league relievers with 50 strikeouts. The only FIP higher than Garcia belongs to Joel Peralta (4.90) who also sports a 2.89 ERA and has pitched all of 9⅓ innings.
League is making $7.5 million in the final season of his three-year, $22.5 million contract, with roughly $3.85 million remaining this year. That makes a virtual certainty that League will pass through waivers unclaimed but, as someone with at least five years of major league service time, League has the right to refuse any minor league assignment should the Dodgers outright him to Triple-A. League would get paid either way.
In 149 relief appearances for the Dodgers since coming to Los Angeles at the trade deadline in 2012, League had a 3.55 ERA and 3.85 FIP with the Dodgers, with 20 saves, 93 strikeouts and 56 walks in 144⅔ innings.
Since he was on the 60-day disabled list, League wasn't technically occupying a spot on the Dodgers' 40-man roster, which remains full.