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Dodgers activate Daniel Hudson off the injured list

Ricky Vanasco designated for assignment, Nick Robertson optioned

MLB: JUN 09 Dodgers at White Sox Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dodgers activated pitcher Daniel Hudson off the 60-day injured list before Friday’s series opener against the Royals, simultaneously strengthening the bullpen and completing a long road back for the veteran right-hander who tore the ACL in his left knee just over one year ago.

Hudson’s long road back was hindered by right ankle tendinitis that he developed while rehabbing the left knee. That slowed Hudson in spring training, and necessitated his starting the season on the injured list.

Despite initial optimism that Hudson might return by the end of April, it took some time to fully recover. But once he did, the veteran right-hander thrived during his minor league rehab assignment. Hudson pitched a combined eight games in the Arizona Complex League and with Triple-A Oklahoma City, allowing only four hits and a walk in 8⅓ scoreless innings, striking out 13 of his 27 batters faced.

That included pitching on back-to-back days in Triple-A on June 20-21, then recording four outs last Sunday in his first multi-inning game of the year.

Hudson could bring some stability to a Dodgers bullpen that has struggled all season, entering the weekend with a 4.68 ERA that ranks 26th among 30 major league teams.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Hudson, the Dodgers designated Ricky Vanasco for assignment. Vanasco was acquired from the Rangers on June 1 for minor league pitcher Luis Valdez.

Vanasco, 24, missed five weeks on the minor league injured list with Texas before getting activated in May. He pitched only two games in the Dodgers minors, one inning each in the Arizona Complex League on Monday and or Double-A Tulsa on Thursday. Vanasco allowed a two-run home run on Thursday.

To clear a spot on the active roster, Nick Robertson was optioned to Oklahoma City. The right-hander, drafted by the Dodgers in the seventh round in 2019, made his major league debut on June 7 in Cincinnati, and in his first big league stint had a 7.04 ERA, allowing six runs in 7⅔ innings, with eight strikeouts and four walks.