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Craig Kimbrel reinstated from paternity leave, Dodgers option Mitch White

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
Craig Kimbrel’s back. Get it?
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel was activated from the paternity list before Friday’s game against the Giants as expected, after the right-hander missed the first three games of the road trip for the birth of his son.

The timing is perfect from a baseball standpoint, considering Daniel Hudson pitched the ninth inning in each of the previous two days, throwing 18 pitches on Wednesday and 35 more on Thursday, the latter the most pitches in any non-piggybacking appearance by a Dodgers reliever this season.

Dodgers-Giants lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos Giants
Pos Dodgers Pos Giants
RF Betts RF González (L)
1B Freeman (L) CF Yastrzemski (L)
SS Turner DH Flores
3B Muncy (L) LF Pederson (L)
C Smith 1B Ruf
DH Turner 3B Longoria
CF Bellinger (L) SS Crawford (L)
LF Taylor 2B Estrada
2B Lux (L) C Casali
Walker Buehler vs. Jakob Junis on the mound.

White’s option was expected, considering he started on Tuesday and threw 69 pitches in his five scoreless innings, and with Clayton Kershaw’s pending return to the rotation this weekend. Swapping White for Kimbrel now gives the Dodgers ten relievers instead of nine for at least one game, possibly two, depending on which day Kershaw starts.

That White wasn’t optioned Wednesday, so the Dodgers could have had an extra reliever for the final two games in Chicago, might have been a byproduct of the limit on times a player can be optioned in any one season. Rather than swapping out pitchers daily, the roster churn has slowed down to a more judicious pace.

White was a frequent traveler to and from Oklahoma City and various Triple-A locales last year, getting optioned 10 times during the 2021 season. Starting this year with the new collective bargaining agreement, players can only be optioned up to five times in-season. This year, that option counter did not start until May 2, which marked the end of expanded rosters after the lockout-induced late start to the season.

This is the first time optioned in 2022 for White, who has a 3.86 ERA and 4.23 xERA in nine games, including four starts, with 27 strikeouts and eight walks in 25⅔ innings.