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Edwin Uceta will start Friday’s bullpen game for Dodgers

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Uceta, making his major league debut, will be backed by 8 rested relievers

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Oakland Athletics Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Edwin Uceta will make his major league debut on Friday night, starting on the mound to begin what will be a bullpen game for the Dodgers.

Uceta was recalled from the taxi squad on Thursday with Brusdar Graterol getting placed on the injured list with forearm tightness. For Uceta, who was added to the 40-man roster in November, this is his first stint on an active roster.

The right-hander was in the Dodgers play pool last season and pitched at the alternate training site at USC, though he was suspended briefly in August for violating health and safety protocols.

It is unclear exactly how long Uceta will pitch on Friday, but the Dodgers plan to use a gaggle of relievers during the game. Sixty-six of Uceta’s 76 minor league appearances have been as a starter, including 63 out of 65 since the start of the 2017 season.

Despite five relief pitchers currently on the injured list — plus two more they weren’t counting on, out for the year after Tommy John surgery — the Dodgers are about as well set up as possible heading into a bullpen game, which will give the starting rotation an extra day of rest amid a stretch of 14 straight days with a game.

They are carrying 14 pitchers, including nine relievers. Clayton Kershaw pitched seven innings on Wednesday, and Trevor Bauer pitched eight innings in a 113-pitch, complete-game loss in the series opener in Milwaukee on Thursday night.

“A lot of the value of having [Bauer] on the team is to go deep and preserve the pen,” manager Dave Roberts said Thursday. “Looking at how many days we have in a row, and a bullpen game tomorrow, no one else was in there. We’re at full strength tomorrow, which is a credit to Trevor.”

The 23-year-old Uceta, signed by the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic in July 2016, will be the 510th Dodgers pitcher to start a game in the history of the franchise.

Here’s how the rest of the bullpen stacks up in terms of rest heading into Friday:

  • Kenley Jansen: 3 days rest (last pitched Monday)
  • Blake Treinen: 1 day rest (Wednesday the only time he pitched in the last 5 days)
  • Victor Gonzalez: 4 days rest (warmed up Wednesday, as did Jansen)
  • Jimmy Nelson: 2 days rest
  • Scott Alexander: 2 days rest
  • Mitch White: 3 days rest
  • Garrett Cleavinger: 1 day rest
  • Dennis Santana: 1 day rest (after pitching 3 straight days, first Dodger to do so in 2021)