LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers on Sunday placed Rich Hill on the 10-day disabled list with a blister in the middle finger on his left hand, adding another obstacle to an already depleted starting rotation.
Hill left after just two pitches in his start on Saturday night in the second game of a doubleheader against the Nationals.
“I don’t have any answers right now at this time for the blister issue,” Hill said Saturday night. “The training staff is doing everything that they can to unturn every stone and try to find out answers.
“It’s as bad as it was two years ago, but it’s not as big. The skin did completely tear open.”
Hill also missed extended time in each of the last two seasons with the same blister problems, including missing seven weeks in 2016 with Oakland and Los Angeles.
Dave Roberts said it’s fair to expect Rich Hill to be out at least 4 weeks. #Dodgers— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) May 20, 2018
For now the Dodgers will use an extra relief pitcher for a few days, and recalled Pat Venditte from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Venditte was optioned in between games on Saturday to make room for newcomer Erik Goeddel, but can return within 10 days because he’s replacing an injured player.
But the club will likely need another starting pitcher by Wednesday at the latest, and not just because of Hill’s injury. Friday’s postponement and Saturday’s doubleheader mean that the Dodgers would have no starter on regular rest available from the major league roster to pitch on Wednesday.
After Alex Wood starts Sunday, Walker Buehler starts the series opener against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Kenta Maeda is next in line, but also pitched eight innings on Thursday in Miami, his second longest career start. Maeda threw 96 pitches against the Marlins, and has been given extra rest after the previous four times he threw 90 or more pitches this season.
Brock Stewart is on the 40-man roster and scheduled to start Thursday for Triple-A Oklahoma City, making him the most logical candidate to step in for the moment whether it is Tuesday or Wednesday. Stewart has been up with the Dodgers three different times this season, posting a 3.18 ERA in 5⅔ innings over his three appearances.
Stewart last pitched on Thursday for Oklahoma City, throwing 63 pitches in three scoreless innings. He was optioned to the minors on May 12, and could be recalled as early as Tuesday if needed.
After that, Thursday’s pending off day allows the Dodgers to kick the can down the road a little bit and not have to necessarily replace Hill in the rotation until Tuesday, May 29. Whether that leaves enough time for Clayton Kershaw to be ready remains to be seen, though he seemed generally optimistic on Saturday.
Clayton Kershaw gave an update on his rehab today on #DodgersOnDeck— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) May 19, 2018
"I don't think we're talking too much longer as as far as throwing the bullpen and whatever the next step is whether it's a rehab start or something like that."
Ross Stripling doesn't know how much longer he'll stay in #Dodgers rotation. But he's done the math: "I think Clayton’s set to throw a bullpen here pretty soon. I assume that means a rehab outing and then back. So maybe 10 days, I’m not really sure."— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) May 19, 2018
Kershaw, who last pitched on May 1, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Sunday morning.
Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen session this morning. He will throw at least one more before making a start somewhere.— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) May 20, 2018
The Dodgers on Sunday also returned Yimi Garcia to Triple-A after he served as the 26th man in the nightcap on Saturday.