One night after using all nine relievers on the active roster in a marathon 16-inning win, the Dodgers needed some pitching help. That came in the form of Darien Núñez, recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before Thursday’s series finale.
This is the fourth different major league stint this season for Núñez, who wasn’t even added to the 40-man roster until July 8. The left-hander has an 8.22 ERA and 7.73 FIP in six games with the Dodgers, with eight strikeouts and four walks in 7⅔ innings. But more importantly to the team’s immediate needs, Núñez is relatively well-rested, having last pitched on Monday, tossing two innings and throwing 48 pitches for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Fresh arms are needed since Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, Corey Knebel, Phil Bickford, and Alex Vesia have pitched in each of the last two games. None of those five are expected to be available on Thursday.
Brusdar Graterol threw 25 pitches in his two innings on Wednesday.
The Dodgers didn’t option a pitcher to make room for Núñez, because of heavy usage of late, especially Wednesday’s 16-inning game. Instead, position players Gavin Lux and Matt Beaty were optioned, having fallen further down the depth chart with the return of Mookie Betts. Even with Betts, and at times others, out, playing time was hard to come by for both.
Beaty, who leads the team in pinch-hit appearances on the season, started two games in August and has 22 total plate appearances in the Dodgers’ 22 games this month.
“It’s a roster crunch thing. It’s nothing about his performance,” manager Dave Roberts said of Beaty. “
Lux played in three of eight games since getting activated from the injured list, totaling only eight PA in those eight games.
“Where our roster’s at right now, [Lux] is not an everyday player, but obviously that’s kind of the life we see him at at some point,” Roberts said. “To get one at-bat in five days just didn’t make sense.”
Both having minor league options played a big part in sending Beaty and Lux down, as well as the opportunity to play every day, at least for the next 10 days or so.
Max Muncy has back tightness but Roberts said he expects Muncy to be back in the lineup on Friday. Billy McKinney is playing first base on Thursday, where he started twice for the Mets this season.
Chris Taylor is getting a day off after playing 16 innings on Wednesday. Cody Bellinger will get a day off on Friday. Roberts said he planned to get regular rest for Betts in his return to the lineup, but didn’t specify how often the days off would come.