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Dodgers facing roster decisions soon

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the Dodgers continue their series with the Brewers on Saturday night, the team has several roster decisions in its short-term future.

For one, the Dodgers have needed 10 innings out of their bullpen in the last two games, and 25⅔ innings over the last seven days. Pedro Baez threw 28 pitches on Thursday night and 18 innings on Friday night, and this was after throwing 30 pitches on Tuesday, so he's likely unavailable at least on Saturday if not Sunday as well.

The bullpen will likely be needed this weekend, with Mike Bolsinger and his five-inning average start this season going Saturday, followed by Kenta Maeda on Sunday, five days after taking a line drive off his lower right leg. So don't be surprised if a fresh arm is added to the bullpen.

Then there is Bolsinger himself, who hasn't been effective this year, with his 5.76 ERA and 5.93 FIP in five starts, failing to last six innings yet this season, all while allowing seven home runs, second-most on the staff despite making just the five starts.

With Frankie Montas (2.25 ERA in 16 minor league innings since returning from surgery, with 22 strikeouts and three walks) and Jharel Cotton (2.57 ERA in five starts since returning to the Oklahoma City rotation, with 34 strikeouts and nine walks in 28 innings) both ready in Triple-A if needed, Bolsinger likely needs a good start on Saturday to remain in the rotation.

Then there is the matter of Yasiel Puig, who is expected to play right field again for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga again on Saturday in San Jose, likely his fifth and final game before presumably getting activated from the disabled list as early as Monday.

Puig is 4-for-8 (.500) with a home run and three walks so far with the Quakes, and he has tested his strained left hamstring with three stolen base attempts, though just one of them successful.

Both Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy have progressed nicely in their rehab, each starting twice with Rancho Cucamonga, with Ryu up to four innings and McCarthy three. McCarthy will get an extra day of rest before his next rehab start, which is expected to be Wednesday, and it wouldn't be out of the question to see the same for Ryu.

But that said, Ryu has at least two more rehab starts before he would be considered to be activated, and McCarthy probably three more starts, so they are still relatively down the road.

The more immediate question when Puig gets activated is just who gets the boot from the active roster. The Dodgers could option Kiké Hernandez, which is unlikely since the club would be without a backup shortstop. It could option one of Scott Van Slyke or Will Venable, though the latter would leave the bench without a left-handed bat, except in games when Yasmani Grandal didn't start at catcher.

Perhaps the most likely scenario, especially with Thursday's pending off day looming to smooth over any rotation shuffling if needed, is that Bolsinger starts Saturday then gets optioned Sunday or Monday when Puig gets activated from the disabled list.

That gives the Dodgers a full five-man bench and allows them to keep their eight-man bullpen for at least the next five games.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA