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Dodgers activate Mitch White, will carry nine relievers heading into bullpen game

Outfielder Luke Raley optioned

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Friday’s Dodgers starting pitcher is still to be announced, but the team will have a selection of nine pitchers to choose from. It will be a bullpen game for the Dodgers, and how the bullpen gets used Thursday against the Brewers will affect how the Dodgers plan out the second game of the series.

Mitch White would fit the bill for a potential Friday starter, as someone who can pitch multiple innings. White missed two games on the COVID-19-related injured list after not feeling well following his vaccination shot, but was activated before Thursday’s game.

“Looking at the ‘pen, there’s a lot of options as far as who’s going to start the game. I see a handful of guys pitching tomorrow,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re just going to see how we come out of it today to make that decision.”

Dodgers-Brewers lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos Brewers
Pos Dodgers Pos Brewers
RF Betts 2B Wong (L)
SS Seager (L) 1B Vogelbach (L)
3B Turner C Narvaez (L)
C Smith RF Garcia
1B Muncy (L) 3B Shaw (L)
CF Taylor LF Taylor
LF Pollock CF Bradley (L)
2B Neuse SS Urías
P Bauer P Lauer

The corresponding roster move was outfielder Luke Raley getting optioned, after going 7-for-31 (.206/.308/.324) with a home run and double in 14 games, including eight corner outfield starts.

This leaves the Dodgers with 14 pitchers on the active roster, including nine relievers available to cover Friday’s game. Garrett Cleavinger is currently also on the active roster. He left Wednesday’s game after taking a comebacker off his triceps area in the ninth inning.

“He’s a little sore. He went out there and played catch. I think we came out and dodged a bullet,” Roberts said. “He responded really well to treatment.”

In addition to Cleavinger, Blake Treinen pitched Wednesday, as did Dennis Santana, who recorded the final out while pitching on his third day in a row. Should the Dodgers choose to replace one of the nine active relievers, they also brought left-hander Alex Vesia and right-hander Edwin Uceta on the trip, as part of the taxi squad.

Facing left-hander Eric Lauer on Thursday night, the Dodgers have Sheldon Neuse starting at second base, one of six right-handed position players in the lineup. Neuse hit two home runs in the last week.

“Sheldon has looked fantastic. He’s done everything we’ve asked,” Roberts said. “I really wanted to get him a start.”

Milwaukee roster moves

In addition to recalling Thursday starter Lauer and placing Zack Godley on the injured list with a right finger contusion, as expected, the Brewers also placed ace starter Corbin Burnes on the IL and recalled right-hander Alex Bettinger.

Burnes was the listed starter for the Brewers on Sunday, and while a normal stint on the IL requires 10 days, Milwaukee didn’t list an injury designation for Burnes, who has a 1.53 ERA with 49 strikeouts and zero walks in five starts.

If a player is on the COVID-19-related injured list — we don’t know that is the case with Burnes, and MLB players must provide written permission for teams to disclose such information — they don’t necessarily need to be down for 10 days.

“Our expectation is to plan for him, as one of the best pitchers in the game,” Roberts said. “And if we don’t, we’ll adjust.”

The Brewers on Thursday also added pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and optioned Patrick Weigel before the series opener.