Dodgers could turn to Brandon Beachy for rotation opening Saturday

Is now the time to attempt to cash in on the Brandon Beachy gamble, or would the Dodgers be pushing his return because of obvious need?

The Dodgers put together their ugliest victory of the season Monday night when they started reliever Yimi Garcia, tried and failed to squeeze six innings out of Eric Surkamp, and ultimately took more than four hours to defeat the Phillies (corrected), 10-7.

All this was in an attempt to fill the rotation spot previously occupied by Carlos Frias, himself a fill-in before he went on the disabled list. But at the same time the Dodgers were going through seven pitchers at Dodger Stadium, over at triple-A Oklahoma City Beachy was throwing six innings and 92 pitches, allowing three earned runs and nine hits.

It was his fifth rehab appearance in an effort to return from a second Tommy John surgery.

"His velocity was back to what it was in the past," said Manager Don Mattingly. "I know he felt good.

"He threw [92] pitches. His stuff is good. He could be a guy we could consider."

Beachy’s first rehab start was June 16 for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He has made four starts for Oklahoma City, going 1-1 with a 2.65 earned-run average. A 30-day rehab window started with his first appearance. His next turn would be Saturday, whether for Oklahoma City or Los Angeles.

But the Dodgers have tried not to rush Beachy in his return and have to be careful they aren’t doing that now, however slightly, just because they need a starter Saturday.

"That's one of the things we talked a lot about with Brandon, is giving him the time to not only physically be ready but mentally feel like he’s getting to the point where he feels like he’s ready to compete," Mattingly said. "That’s the main thing."

Beachy, 28, seemed a rising star with the Braves until undergoing his first Tommy John surgery in June 2012. He was 12-8 with a 3.07 ERA in his previous two seasons before that first elbow procedure.

Mattingly would not identify the other candidates to start Saturday against Milwaukee, but the Dodgers’ rotation problems have diminished their options.

"A number of guys again," Mattingly said. "We haven't really sat down and talked about it. I’m sure Andrew [Friedman, president of baseball operations] and Farhan [Zaidi, general manager] are thinking about different guys, different combinations, and possibly the same type of game we had [Monday]. We'll just see where we go."

The Dodgers signed Beachy to a one-year contract for $2.75 million in the off-season, with a $3-million option (with a $250,000 buyout) for 2016.

Follow Steve Dilbeck on Twitter @SteveDilbeck

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