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Dodgers call up Gus Varland from Triple-A

Jake Marisnick was transferred to the 60-day IL

Right-hander Gus Varland pitches for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers against Round Rock on August 2, 2023.
Right-hander Gus Varland pitches for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers against Round Rock on August 2, 2023.

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers promoted right-hander Gus Varland from Triple-A Oklahoma City, adding to a bullpen that’s taken some hits recently.

Varland had a 2.16 ERA in 30 games with Oklahoma City, with 39 strikeouts against eight walks in 33⅓ innings and a 23.3-percent strikeout-minus-walk rate that ranked second on the team.

Dodgers reliever depth took a hit over the weekend, with Yency Almonte spraining his right knee and Joe Kelly suffering right forearm/elbow inflammation. They were placed on the injured list Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Starter Michael Grove, whose stuff might play up and be better suited for relief, is also on the injured list with a right lat strain.

Trade deadline roster fallout meant the loss of Phil Bickford and Justin Bruihl, traded to the Mets and Rockies, respectively, for cash after getting designated for assignment. Similarly, Tyson Miller was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Mets.

Shelby Miller is on a rehab assignment in the Arizona Complex League, but his time on the 60-day injured list runs through at least Saturday. Fellow 60-day-injured-list pitcher Blake Treinen faced hitters last week for the first time since shoulder surgery in November.

With a loaded injured list, the only healthy Dodgers pitchers on the 40-man roster but not active are starters Ryan Pepiot, Emmet Sheehan, and Gavin Stone. plus lefty reliever Bryan Hudson.

The Dodgers already have three left-handed short relievers in Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia, and Victor González, plus swingman Ryan Yarbrough in the eight-pitcher bullpen.

Hence the need for a right-handed reliever like Varland, who would have been added to the 40-man roster in November anyway, lest he get plucked in a second consecutive Rule 5 Draft.

Varland’s first series as a Dodger is against the Brewers, the team that selected him in last December’s Rule 5 Draft. He opened the season in the majors with Milwaukee, and didn’t allow a run in his first four appearances, but had six walks against two strikeouts in his final two games for the Brewers, in May. He was designated for assignment after allowing nine runs in an inning to the Cardinals on May 15 — it was a busy week for big innings in St. Louis — then returned to the Dodgers on May 22.

Garland in eight games with the Brewers had an 11.42 ERA with eight walks and six strikeouts in 8⅔ innings. He also pitched five minor league games on a rehab assignment while with Milwaukee in April and May, while he was on the injured list with a right hand contusion for just over three weeks after getting hit by a line drive back to the box.

If Varland gets into a game with Los Angeles, he’ll be the 37th Dodgers pitcher used this season, two shy of the club record set in 2021. Right now the Dodgers are tied with the Rays for most pitchers used in baseball this season. Across the majors, teams on average have used 29 pitchers this season, with a mean of 28 pitchers.

Varland takes Kelly’s spot on the active roster. But to make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Jake Marisnick was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Marisnick has been sidelined since July 19 with a left hamstring strain. The earliest Marisnick could return from the injured list is September 17.

Marisnick has two hits in five at-bats plus a walk in his four games with the Dodgers. his third team this season.