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Tommy Kahnle moves minor league rehab assignment to Triple-A Oklahoma City

Kahnle faced 3 batters in 4th rehab game

MLB: APR 05 Spring Training - Angels at Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Reliever Tommy Kahnle joined Triple-A Oklahoma City in his minor league rehab assignment, the next step toward an expected return to the majors.

On Tuesday with Oklahoma City, Kahnle was used in a relief role, pitching the bottom of the fifth inning against the Sacramento River Cats (a Giants affiliate), after starting his previous three minor league appearances.

Kahnle faced three batters, got a strikeout, a walk, and induced a ground out. He left after 17 pitches due to a pitch limit, per OKC broadcaster Alex Friedman. The runner Kahnle bequeathed scored after he left, charged to his ledger.

Baseball Savant recorded Kahnle’s seven fastballs with an average of 95.6 mph, but his most effective pitch was his changeup, which he threw nine times, got three swing and misses plus two called strikes. He finished off his lone strikeout with a changeup, the pitch Kahnle threw nearly half the time from 2018-2020.

Kahnle pitched three games with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga, allowing three hits in three innings while striking out three. Each appearance with the Quakes came three days after the last. His game on Tuesday came after three days of rest.

The 32-year-old right-hander is recovering from Tommy John surgery had in August 2020 while with the Yankees. That December, the Dodgers signed Kahnle to a backloaded, two-year, $4.75 million contract to account for him missing all of 2021.

He started this season on the injured list, one of six Dodgers pitchers sidelined to open the year.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Friday told reporters that Kahnle getting activated at the beginning of May “makes sense.” One might assume the right-hander would need to pitch in back-to-back games on his rehab assignment, and possibly pitch at least once in more than one inning, the usual checklist for reliever readiness.