After a five-week absence from the Dodgers’ starting rotation caused by a microfracture in his ribcage and a botched, one-outing stint as a reliever, Walker Buehler will start Friday against the Angels at Dodger Stadium.
With Buehler activated, the Dodgers will carry six qualified starters on their roster. The team will consider using a six-man rotation to start the second half of the season, manager Dave Roberts indicated before Tuesday’s game against the Padres. The Dodgers play 17 days in a row after the break, and using six starters could lighten the load on the bullpen during that stretch.
“It’s a time if it ever did make sense, it’s one of those times,” Roberts said. “That’s something we’re going to talk through over the break. It’s something for us to really consider.”
The Dodgers would need all six starters — Clayton Kershaw, Ross Stripling, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda and Buehler — to remain healthy between now and the start of the second half. That is never guaranteed. But Roberts acknowledged the team would need to reassign one of the pitchers if all remain upright.
“At some point, if everyone remains healthy — which is the goal — we’re going to have to make a decision,” Roberts said. “Because a six-man rotation isn’t ideal for any extended period of time.”
BAEZ MAKING PROGRESS, OTHERS NOT SO MUCH
The Dodgers sent a fleet of injured pitchers to Camelback Ranch while the team traveled to Anaheim and San Diego. Roberts deemed Pedro Baez (biceps tendinitis) as the closest pitcher in the group to a return, followed by Josh Fields (shoulder inflammation).
Tony Cingrani (shoulder discomfort) is “not feeling as great as he was a week ago,” Roberts said.
Tom Koehler (strained anterior capsule) continues to throw bullpen sessions, but has had issues recuperating after outings, Roberts said. Koehler was expected to face hitters this week. He has yet to pitch in a game
“The curveball has been good, the fastball velocity has been good,” Roberts said. “As I understand it, when he throws a ‘pen, [he is struggling] to be able to recover and to be able to bounce back and do the same thing again.”