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Dodgers call up Robbie Erlin as 27th player for doubleheader against Cubs

LA will have 10 active relief pitchers for Game 2

MLB: MAR 20 Spring Training - Cubs at Dodgers Photo by Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dodgers called up lefty Robbie Erlin as their 27th player on the active roster on Saturday, adding an extra arm for the doubleheader against the Cubs.

Erlin, by MLB transactional parlance, had his contract selected by the Dodgers, which just means they had to add him to the 40-man roster first before activating him. The club had two open spots, albeit temporary, with both David Price and Mitch White currently on the COVID-related injured list.

Both Price and White are relatively close to returning, though both need to build back up before getting activated after missing well over a week each. The plan for Price is to head to Camelback Ranch, and White will stay in the midwest.

As for Erlin, it will be interesting to see what the Dodgers do with him after Saturday. Because he is out of options, we could have another Carson Fulmer situation, getting designated for assignment to get sent back down. The Dodgers could send down another pitcher to keep Erlin around, if they so choose.

Because of this doubleheader, the Dodgers will need another starting pitcher on Wednesday against the Pirates, because barring something unforeseen it’s highly unlikely the Dodgers will use Clayton Kershaw or Tyler Anderson on only three days rest in Pittsburgh.

With a stretch of 31 games in, now, 30 days, the Dodgers are kicking around the idea of using spot starts to give their five starters extra rest.

Jackson, who is on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, pitched Thursday for Oklahoma City. Pepiot, who is not on the 40-man roster, pitched Friday. Both would be rested enough to start Wednesday, if the Dodgers so choose.

It looks like both 27th players will be available for both games of the doubleheader instead of just the nightcap. Drew Smyly, who starts Game 1 for the Cubs, was activated off the bereavement list on Saturday and is technically Chicago’s 27th player, per Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.

Usually the 27th player available for both games is only allowed for doubleheaders scheduled in advance, like the Dodgers’ upcoming May 17 home twinbill against the D-backs, for instance. In the case of impromptu doubleheaders caused by a rainout the previous day, the thinking was it would be an advantage for the home team in most cases to be able to get an extra player more quickly than the road team.

However, the 27th player can be used for both games when both teams agree to do so ahead of time, per MLB rule 2(b)(A)(i):

The additional roster spot is not available in the first game of a doubleheader that is scheduled as a result of a postponed game earlier in the same series if the rescheduled game takes place the day following the announcement to reschedule the postponed game, unless both Clubs agree that the additional roster spot will be available for the first game within one hour following the notice of postponement. Regardless, the additional roster spot is available in the second game of a doubleheader.

Emphasis added.

The left-hander Erlin, who was a non-roster invitee in spring training, has a 5.82 ERA in five games for Oklahoma City, with 20 strikeouts and nine walks in 21⅔ innings.