LOS ANGELES — It took two outfielders to replace Andrew Toles. Sort of. The Dodgers on Wednesday recalled Brett Eibner and Scott Van Slyke from Triple-A Oklahoma City to help fill the void left by Toles, who will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL in the next 7-10 days.
To make room for both new outfielders, the Dodgers also placed Adam Liberatore on the 10-day disabled list with a groin strain. Liberatore suffered the injury pitching in the ninth inning on Monday.
“On his second-to-last pitch, he felt something in his groin area, and I know he was disappointed,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Toles and Liberatore are the 16th and 17th different Dodgers to be placed on the disabled list in 2017.
With Toles out, Cody Bellinger shifts from first base to left field on Wednesday night. Chase Utley starts at first base.
“We’ll kind of mix and match, but it creates more of a runway for Cody, and some opportunities for some other guys,” Roberts said.
|RF||Polanco (L)||LF||Bellinger (L)|
|1B||Bell (S)||C||Grandal (S)|
|2B||Moroff (S)||1B||Utley (L)|
By adding both Eibner and Van Slyke, the Dodgers are back to a full, five-man bench, something they haven’t had since Apr. 22, a span of 15 games.
“To get both those guys here gives us a little flexibility on the position player side,” Roberts said.
Both Eibner and Van Slyke are right-handed. The best left-handed outfield option in the minors is Alex Verdugo, the 21-year-old hitting .321/.402/.402 for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He is not on the 40-man roster.
“Right now the easiest and best thing to do for us right now is Van Slyke and Eibner,” Roberts said. “In the near term, there is discussion to be had with other guys, that’s for sure.”
Verdugo plays solid defense at all three outfield spots and is one of the club’s top prospects. But Roberts also noted that Verdugo if he were to come up would not be in a part-time role. He needs to play. That playing time may not be there for more than a week or so, if that.
Logan Forsythe is roughly a week away from returning. He ran in the outfield, took grounders at second base, had live batting practice and batted against Brandon McCarthy in a simulated game on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. Roberts said ideally Forsythe, who is battling a broken toe and a hamstring strain, could restart a minor league rehab assignment by this weekend.
Forsythe will beat Adrian Gonzalez back, but the first baseman’s return might not that far off. The Toles injury has accelerated the plan for Gonzalez to be on what Roberts termed on Tuesday a “slow program.”
There is still no timetable for the return of Gonzalez, but he started swinging a bat again on Wednesday. His DL stint is still expected to last beyond 10 days, but perhaps not too much longer than that.
“The slow program got a little quicker,” Roberts said. “But that’s kind of what we said. We said we’ll take it slow, take the calendar out of it. But if some unforeseen injury or circumstance takes place, then we’ll speed it up. I’ve talked to Adrian, and he’s going to ramp it up.
“In a perfect world, he’d be 100%. But under the circumstances, there is little gray in there I think.”