SAN DIEGO — A cracked nail in his left middle finger has landed Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill on the 10-day disabled list, which will cause some rotation scrambling for the team this weekend.
Hill cracked the nail in his start last Saturday against Arizona, when he allowed seven runs in five innings, which included two home runs allowed plus another ball hit over the fence that was ruled a single because of a Diamondbacks baserunning blunder.
“We thought we could just kind of monitor it until Friday, but unfortunately it hasn’t really dissipated as much as we wanted to,” Hill said. “It’s more of a precautionary event than anything.”
Hill’s DL stint is retroactive to Sunday, meaning the earliest he could be activated is next Wednesday, April 25. The Dodgers are off the next day as well as this Thursday, so whenever Hill is activated he expects to basically just miss one start.
“As frustrating as it is, the timing is somewhat in our favor because of the off days, to be able to utilize that to our advantage,” Hill said. “Hopefully it’s something we can cut it off now at the pass and move forward without any issues the rest of the year.”
|SS||Seager (L)||CF||Cordero (L)|
|C||Grandal (S)||1B||Hosmer (L)|
|LF||Pederson (L)||2B||Asuaje (L)|
|2B||Utley (L)||LF||Sangenberg (L)|
The good news for Hill is that there is no blister, something that plagued him for most of the second half in 2016 and briefly sidelined him at the start of 2017. He said he will take a few days off from throwing to prevent further cracking of the nail.
“With the history of stuff with him, to potentially be prudent and potentially just miss one start, we’re trying not to push it right now,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Hill was scheduled to start Friday against the Nationals, the start of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw will now Friday instead, moving him up a day but with Thursday’s off day would be on regular four days rest.
“I’ll be ready whenever,” Kershaw said.
Kershaw was really is the only option for Friday. None of the three minor league starters on the 40-man roster would be fully rested by Friday, since Walker Buehler and Dennis Santana pitched Monday and Brock Stewart pitched Wednesday.
The Dodgers will start Hyun-jin Ryu on Saturday against the Nationals and Alex Wood Sunday.
Someone will be called up Monday to start against the Marlins, with Kenta Maeda getting an extra day of rest and starting Tuesday.
One person who is not an option to start per Roberts is Wilmer Font, who won PCL Pitcher of the Year as a starter last year in Triple-A but is out of options and nearly out of a role in the Dodgers bullpen other than to pitch as a last resort.
Font has a 12.54 ERA in five relief appearances, allowing 13 runs on 18 hits in 9⅓ innings, with seven strikeouts and a walk. Despite pitching so few innings he is tied for the National League lead with five home runs allowed.
Another factor to consider in the starting rotation is the looming doubleheader in San Francisco on Saturday, April 28. That’s the second day of a 10-day stretch with 11 games for the Dodgers. The pitcher called up to start Monday will likely also start one of the doubleheader games.
“One thing is the pending start, and how it sets our guys up going forward,” Roberts said.
To take Hill’s place on the active roster is Adam Liberatore, who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Liberatore was off to a good start in Triple-A with nine strikeouts in 6⅓ scoreless innings in his five appearances, allowing only two singles and two walks.
He gives the Dodgers nine relievers in the bullpen at the moment, and three left-handers, one game after using seven relievers to pitch the final 6⅔ innings.
“Looking at what’s happened and especially last night where the pen is at, Lib can give us some length as far as two innings,” Roberts said. “There were some other guys we could have used for an inning but the value of getting a left-hander and right-hander out plus the potential for two innings made the most sense.”