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Erratic Dodgers rookie Matt Magill heading back to mound Sunday

At least Matt Magill can’t throw much worse than he did in his last outing.

Four home runs and nine walks. The rookie pitcher's control problems peaked in a historically bad performance as the Dodgers lost to the Rockies, 7-2, last Sunday. With Ted Lilly headed to the 15-day disabled list, Magill returns to the majors on Sunday, when he will look to bounce back against the Atlanta Braves.

[Update, 12:30 p.m.: The Dodgers placed Lilly on the 15-day disabled list with a neck sprain and recalled right-hander Magill to start on Sunday, the team confirmed Sunday morning.]

The Dodgers have lost all five of the games Magill has started this season, but he’s tossed at least five innings of three-runs-or-fewer ball in three of those outings.

“We need our starters to take us into the game a minimum of five (innings) and hopefully six or seven,” Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “Guys have been doing that this last time through and it allows our bullpen to catch our breath and kind of be used in the roles they should be used.”

Honeycutt said Magill’s biggest problem this season has been locating his fastball. Before his nine-walk performance against Colorado, he threw a combined 11 free passes in his previous three starts.

In five starts at triple-A Albuquerque this year, Magill is 1-0 with a 2.16 earned-run average, but he's given up 17 walks. His 7.3 walks per nine innings through his 10 total starts this year are far and away the worst of his career at any level.

Magill has faced the Braves before, though. He threw arguably his best Major League game — a one-run, eight-strikeout performance over five innings — in Atlanta on May 19. The Dodgers lost 5-2 but he left allowing just five hits and three walks.

“His stuff’s good,” Honeycutt said. “He’s just got to be in the zone more with better command.”

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