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Dodgers' shortage of bullpen arms leads to shortage of reserves

BaseballSportsMajor League BaseballChone FigginsAlbuquerque IsotopesPhiladelphia PhilliesJ.P. Howell

Turns out the Dodgers have found a nifty solution to a worn-down bullpen.

More relievers!

Before Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers optioned utilityman Chone Figgins to triple-A Albuquerque and called up right-handed reliever Jose Dominguez.

Despite the Dodgers' 12-7 record, their bullpen has thrown 70 1/3 innings this season, second only to the Arizona Diamondbacks' bullpen.

“It’s been a little bit of a storm,” said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly.

The move will leave the Dodgers with only four bench players. Mattingly  said the move was temporary but might go through the series in Minnesota (April 29-May 1), where the Dodgers will use a designated hitter and have less need for a pinch-hitter. That would make going 10 games playing a man short.

“I don’t think any of us want to play short, but we thought that last week,” Mattingly said. “But every day it seems like we’re walking that tightrope right now.”

Dominguez, 23, was dynamic in nine games for the Dodgers last season, but struggled in three early games this season (12.00 earned-run average). Still, he has a power arm, good stuff and is young.

Figgins, who was out of baseball last season, was playing little for the Dodgers. He had only six at-bats, with one hit. Mattingly said the Dodgers first discussed playing a man short last week in San Francisco.

“We’ve been fighting it, [but] at the end of the day I don’t think it’s going to be horrible for Figgy to be able to go down and get 25, 30 at-bats,” Mattingly said. “I feel like he’s been looking better and better. Early in the spring we worried about him not playing for a year and knew there would be some rust.”

Dominguez had appeared in three games for the Isotopes, allowing one run. The Dodgers may send him back down Friday and call up left-hander Paco Rodriguez, who has to be down for 10 days before he can be recalled without an injured pitcher.

The Dodgers currently have only one left-hander, J.P. Howell, in their bullpen.

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