Pedro Baez rejoins Dodgers as bullpen continues to grow

The Dodgers expanded their bullpen to 14 relievers on Tuesday by recalling right-hander Pedro Baez from double-A Tulsa. The team had sent Baez to the Texas League last week to give him a rest after heavy usage and ineffective outings in August.

A talented but maddening pitcher, one who often grinds games to a halt with his languorous pace on the mound, Baez got pounded by opposing hitters last month. He posted a 7.50 earned-run average in 13 appearances as batters punched up a 1.064 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

Baez did not pitch in Tulsa. The Dodgers sent him there, in essence, to rest and attempt to rediscover the command of his changeup.

“I’m looking forward to getting him into a game and just seeing how he’s responded to being down in Tulsa,” Manager Dave Roberts said before Tuesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. “Less usage, kind of resetting.”

Baez had thrown only 54 innings in 2015 and 66 innings in 2014. He had already reached 62 1/3 innings by the time he received his demotion. The Dodgers felt his fatigue contributed to his struggle, when he became reliant on his fastball.

“For him, it was just more about fastball command, and working on that changeup,” Roberts said. “Because I think that change the last three weeks has [looked like a ball right away]. His best secondary pitch is the changeup.”

Roberts is still hoping for a late-season revival from left-handed reliever Adam Liberatore, who has struggled since returning from the disabled list in August after experiencing elbow soreness.

Liberatore carried a 1.62 ERA onto the disabled list. He gave up six runs in his first 44 appearances. In his last eight outings, he has given up eight runs.

“After he came back, he just hasn’t been right, still,” I’m still trying to give him days, if I can. But to get him back throwing the way he was would be big for us.”

Short hops 

The Dodgers nominated Adrian Gonzalez for the Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a player who combines on-field performance with off-field philanthropy. Gonzalez has represented the Dodgers in three of the last four seasons. He founded the Adrian and Betsy Gonzalez Foundation, which aids underprivileged youth.

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