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Caleb Ferguson begins rehab assignment, Tommy Kahnle takes next step towards return

Affiliates went 2-2 on the day

San Francisco Giants v. Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

A pair of relievers made progress for the Dodgers Thursday on their way towards pitching in the majors again. One made the first of many necessary appearances while the other checked another important box.

Caleb Ferguson took the mound for Oklahoma City in his first outing since September 2020 when the left-hander underwent Tommy John surgery. The 25-year-old struck out the first batter he faced on a 3-2 pitch but would then allow a triple, a walk and a single before being lifted after 20 pitches.

With the team expecting Ferguson back in mid-to-late May, this was the first appearance of a long stint in the minors before he would rejoin the Dodgers.

Tommy Kahnle is on the opposite end of the rehab process after he appeared in his eighth game this month and the first on back-to-back nights. The right-hander came in with two outs and nobody on in the third, giving up a double and an RBI-single before striking out the final batter of the inning.

Manager Dave Roberts said Kahnle’s final hurdle to being activated with the big club was pitching on consecutive nights. The two-game series against the Giants next week is a possibility for Kahnle to come off the injured list.

Triple-A Oklahoma City

After Ferguson’s shaky start, the Space Cowboys (Astros) would go on to take 6-0 lead over the first three innings. That would prove too big a hole for the Dodgers as they managed just five hits on their way to s 8-4 loss.

Infielder Miguel Vargas was the lone bright spot for OKC, going 2-for-3 with a single, a two-run homer and two walks. The No. 5 prospect in the Dodgers’ system according to MLB Pipeline, Vargas broke out of a mini 1-for-14 slump by reaching base four times.

Friday starter Ryan Pepiot was just added to the top 100 prospects in baseball by MLB Pipeline’s updated list. Former top-100 prospect Yadier Alvarez rejoined the team for his first appearance above a complex league in three years, facing the minimum in the ninth after a double play erased a leadoff single.

Double-A Tulsa

The Drillers forced extra innings Thursday with two runs in the ninth on a Ryan Ward blast to tie the game at four apiece. Excitement of the comeback was short-lived however as Tulsa immediately allowed five runs in the 10th to take a 9-4 loss to Corpus Christi (Astros).

At one point in the 10th, the Hooks had six straight men reach with two walks and four singles. Tulsa went quietly in the bottom of the 10th to fall to 11-7 on the season.

Clayton Beeter didn’t allow a hit in four scoreless to start the game for Tulsa, striking out eight of the 14 batters he faced while walking two.

Shortstop Jacob Amaya opened the scoring in the fourth inning with his fifth homer in as many days. Scoring two in the frame, the Drillers had a 2-0 lead until the Hooks scored twice in the sixth and twice in the eighth.

High-A Great Lakes

The Loons pitched well as a staff Thursday, scattering eight hits and allowing just one run in a 4-1 win over the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers).

Great Lakes’ starter Lael Lockhart gave up a solo homer in the third but struck out seven in his four innings of work to pass the torch to the bullpen that didn’t allow a run the rest of the way.

An Eddys Leonard two-run homer in the fifth and a pair of walks with the bases loaded in the sixth, plated all the offense the Loons would need in their third straight win.

Low-A Rancho Cucamonga

With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Quakes strung together three-run-scoring singles to give themselves a 5-2 win over Visalia (Diamondacks).

After Alex De Jesus led off the frame with a walk, he stole second and came around with the go-ahead run on a Jose Ramos single. Luis Rodriguez followed a Damon Keith walk with a single of his own to plate Ramos. Two batters later, Austin Gauthier singled to cap it off with an insurance run.

Rodriguez was 3-for-3 Thursday with a walk to drive in three of the five runs for Rancho.

Starter Maddux Bruns struck out a career-high six batters in 2 23 innings, allowing one run on three hits without a walk. The 2021 first-round selection for the Dodgers, Bruns has now struck out 18 of the 37 batters he has faced in four starts this year for Rancho.

Thursday scores

Friday schedule

  • 3:35 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Gavin Stone) at West Michigan (Keider Montero)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Ryan Pepiot) vs. Sugar Land (Peter Solomon)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (John Rooney) vs. Corpus Christi (Cody Season)
  • 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Edgardo Henriquez) vs. Visalia (Penial Otano)