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Dodgers option Yimi Garcia to make room for Juan Nicasio

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Monday optioned Yimi Garcia to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room in the bullpen for Juan Nicasio, who will be activated from the disabled list before the Dodgers' series in Cincinnati against the Reds on Tuesday after the minimum 15 days.

Garcia is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 46 games this season for the Dodgers, with 58 strikeouts — second among Dodgers relievers to Kenley Jansen — and just nine walks in 45⅔ innings. Garcia has also allowed a bullpen-high seven home runs, which first got him sent down just before the All-Star break.

But Garcia hasn't allowed a home run since July 6, and in his last six appearances with the Dodgers has allowed just one run in 8⅓ innings with five strikeouts and no walks. The run came Tuesday in Oakland, with two straight doubles to open the 10th inning for a walk-off loss after Garcia pitched a scoreless ninth.

Nicasio suffered a left abdominal strain during the Dodgers' last homestand and last pitched on Aug. 9 in Pittsburgh. He started throwing off a mound on Wednesday in Oakland.

Nicasio, in his first full season as a reliever after four seasons mostly as a starter in Colorado, is 1-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 38 games, with 52 strikeouts and 22 walks in 47 innings. He has pitched in a variety of roles for the Dodgers in the bullpen this year, from multi-inning middle relief work to setting up in the seventh and eighth innings.

The Dodgers bullpen since the All-Star break has a 6.12 ERA and 4.59 FIP that both rank 14th in the National League, ahead of only the Rockies. For what it's worth, their 3.51 xFIP ranks sixth and 3.03 SIERA during that span is third in the league.

Garcia will have to remain on optional assignment for 10 days unless he's called back up to replace an injured player. By optioning him Monday, the earliest Garcia can return to the Dodgers is Sept. 3. Oklahoma City's regular season ends on Monday, Sept. 7.