Was that a two-for-one deal?
Not exactly, but the Dodgers made an interesting roster move Monday when they placed struggling reliever Chris Perez on the disabled list because of a sore ankle and called up starting pitcher Carlos Frias from triple-A Albuquerque.
Manager Don Mattingly said the right-handed Frias was brought up to pitch in relief, but since both Josh Beckett and Dan Haren are struggling in the rotation, the Dodgers now have someone who could start in their place should they decide to make a move.
Frias has appeared in 21 games for Albuquerque and double-A Chattanooga this season, all but one appearance as a starter. He was a combined 10-5 with a 4.58 earned-run average. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers moved Paul Maholm (knee) to the 60-day DL.
In his eight minor league seasons, Frias has appeared in relief 70 times and started 62 times. He said he also pitched in relief in the winter leagues.
“I feel comfortable with a bullpen role,” Frias said.
Apparently Perez has been battling a right ankle problem for almost two months. He said X-rays were taken six weeks ago, and then he had an MRI exam after Sunday’s game.
“It was sorer after [Sunday’s] game so we had an MRI and it showed some bone spurs and inflammation,” Mattingly said.
Perez had surgery on his other ankle in 2009. A former Cleveland closer released by the Indians in the off-season, his time with the Dodgers has mostly been a huge struggle. He is 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, both career highs.
Perez, however, said the ankle has not been the reason for his troubles this year.
“I don’t think it has,” he said. “It’s just bad performances.”
If the Dodgers had simply wanted to replace Perez with another right-handed reliever, they could have brought Jose Dominguez (3.24 ERA, 10 saves) back up. With Maholm expected to be lost for the season, however, they needed someone who could eat up some innings out of the bullpen.
Still, Haren and Beckett know there is now someone on the staff the Dodgers could slide into the rotation should either veteran right-hander's downward spiral continue. Mattingly said for now Frias is in the bullpen, and Haren and Beckett will take their next starts.
Frias “gives us a guy who’s been starting basically the whole year,” Mattingly said. “A kid we saw in spring training. A sinker-slider-curveball-changeup guy. Good stuff. He gives us a guy who’s stretched out to be able to start, if he had to.”
Sounds almost like a tactful warning.