LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are starting Zach Lee on Saturday night against the Mets, but first had to make room on the roster for him. The club optioned Ian Thomas to Triple-A Oklahoma City, one night after the left-hander allowed one run in five innings in his spot start in a win over New York.
Thomas on Friday made his first major league start and his 24th major league appearance. Lee on Saturday will make his major league debut.
Thomas in three major league stints with the Dodgers this season has a 4.50 ERA in three appearances, including one start, with eight strikeouts and three walks in 10 innings. He is 4-1 with a 6.30 ERA in eight games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, including five starts, with 28 strikeouts and 10 walks in 30 innings.
Lee, like Thomas, could be destined for a trip back to the farm after his Citi Field start, as Zack Greinke is scheduled to start for the Dodgers on Sunday. The Dodgers will need to make a corresponding move on Sunday to add Greinke back to the active roster from the paternity leave list.
Coming off days give the Dodgers flexibility and allow them to option both Thomas and Lee if needed. Optioning Thomas on Saturday and potentially Lee on Sunday would mean they couldn't return to the majors for 10 days unless replacing an injured player, so Aug. 4 for Thomas and Aug. 5 for Lee.
But even if the Dodgers acquire no starting pitchers before the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31, the club can maneuver its rotation such that it won't need a fifth starter until Aug. 8, thanks to off days Monday and Thursday next week, then Monday, Aug. 3 as well.