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Dodgers activate Ryan Yarbrough, option Emmet Sheehan to Triple-A

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers on Friday activated pitcher Ryan Yarbrough, who was acquired by trade from the Royals on Tuesday. To make room on the active roster, Emmet Sheehan was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Yarbrough had a 4.24 ERA with 29 strikeouts and nine walks in 51 innings this season for Kansas City, splitting his time between the rotation (seven starts) and bullpen (seven relief appearances). During his six year career, the first five seasons of which came with the Rays, Yarbrough has both started and pitched in bulk relief.

Saturday appears likely for Yarbrough to make his Dodgers debut.

“I think [starting] is a possibility, but I also see him potentially piggybacking after an opener or piggybacking in a regular game,” manager Dave Roberts said earlier this week. “I think the great thing about Ryan is that he’s done all of it, and has had success.”

When Yarbrough appears in a game, he’ll be the 36th Dodgers pitcher this season, most in the majors and three shy of the franchise record set in 2021.

Yarbrough will wear number 56 with the Dodgers.

Sheehan is coming off both his best start since his major league debut last weekend and a four-inning save on Thursday that gave the Dodgers bullpen the night off. The right-hander pitched five scoreless innings on Saturday against Cincinnati, allowing only two hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

“Just being on the attack, and trusting my stuff in the zone,” Sheehan said after his start on Saturday. “I think before I was a little on the defensive, which is not the way I like to pitch.”

Sheehan had a 5.63 ERA in eight games in his first stint in the majors, bookended by a scoreless, hitless debut over six innings on June 16 and Saturday’s five scoreless frames before Thursday’s four-inning save against Oakland. He struck out 30 and walked 18 in 38⅓ innings.

“He’s been hit with the fastball more than he ever has. Most of the time, hitters will tell you how you need to adjust,” Roberts said before Sheehan’s start on Saturday. “But I think for me the biggest adjustment is how he’s handled some adversity, and that’s most important on the development side.”

Throwing 56 pitches on Thursday made Sheehan the odd man out on the roster considering he wouldn’t be available through the weekend, coupled with Clayton Kershaw’s pending return next week.

Now that he’s optioned, Sheehan can make his Triple-A debut after his major league debut, since his promotion to the majors was straight from Double-A Tulsa.