The Dodgers recalled pitcher Michael Grove to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Arizona, the day after Los Angeles clinched its ninth National League West division title in ten years.
This is the fifth stint in the majors for Grove, who has pitched in three games for the Dodgers thus far in his rookie season. The right-hander, drafted by the Dodgers in the second round in 2018 out of West Virginia, has allowed nine runs (five earned) in 9⅓ innings, with seven strikeouts and five walks.
In 14 games with Oklahoma City this season, Grove has a 4.07 ERA with 68 strikeouts — a 26.6-percent rate — and 21 walks in 59⅔ innings.
Wednesday is his third spot start to go with one relief appearance. The Dodgers will need another spot start from someone next Tuesday with a split doubleheader at home against the D-backs, part of the rescheduled first week of the regular season that was wiped away by the 99-day lockout. Whether Grove makes that start next week remains to be seen, but the Dodgers do have some flexibility.
Should the Dodgers option Grove after Wednesday’s start in favor of an extra relief pitcher, it would be Grove’s fifth time getting optioned this season, the maximum allowed under the new collective bargaining agreement. Any subsequent option after the fifth time would require being placed on waivers.
But with a doubleheader next week, the team could call up someone as a 29th man, and promptly send them back to the minors afterward without using another option. This very strategy could also be used for Ryan Pepiot, who has already been optioned five times this season. Pepiot is scheduled to start Thursday for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
But all these roster maneuvers depend on relievers actually available to call up in the interim. The Dodgers have six relievers currently on the injured list, but with 60-dayers Victor González and Danny Duffy having their rehab assignments paused, that makes four who might be available soon. David Price can’t be activated until Monday, and Blake Treinen can’t return until next Thursday, September 22. That leaves Brusdar Graterol and Yency Almonte as the only possible additions by Friday in San Francisco, and that’s only if they are healthy.
Almonte doesn’t sound like someone who will be active this weekend.
Yency Almonte said his sim game today went well. His hope is he does one more, then can be activated.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 14, 2022
The only healthy pitchers on the 40-man roster not in the majors are Pepiot, who was optioned September 5 and can’t be recalled until September 20; and Andre Jackson, who was optioned to Triple-A on Wednesday.
Jackson was recalled on Saturday and pitched Sunday in San Diego, closing out the Dodgers’ blowout win over the Padres with two scoreless innings.
So unless the Dodgers plan to add another relief pitcher to the 40-man roster this weekend — which would in itself require a corresponding move — the most likely scenario might just be Grove sticking around until that doubleheader, giving another week for some of those relievers to get healthy.