The Dodgers’ decision to fortify their relief corps by moving starters Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling to the bullpen has yet to pay off.
On Tuesday, in his first appearance in his new role, Maeda inherited a ninth-inning tie and lost the game. On Wednesday, before Stripling could even make an appearance in his new role, the Dodgers put him on the disabled list.
The All-Star pitcher said he has two compressed discs in his lower back. For now, Stripling hopes rest and anti-inflammatory medication can resolve the discomfort, although manager Dave Roberts said that it is “up for debate” whether he can be activated when he is eligible Aug. 22.
Stripling said that he has dealt with the issue in college and in the minor leagues. He said that Dr. Robert Watkins, the back specialist he visited Wednesday, assured him the condition can be managed.
“He’s got nothing but Gretzky and Federer and Kershaw jerseys everywhere, so I assume he’s pretty good,” Stripling said. “He said this would never be anything that requires surgery.”
Stripling said he believed that the “unbelievably soft” beds at the Ritz-Carlton, the Dodgers’ hotel in Denver last weekend, contributed to the problem.
“You wake up like a taco,” he said. “You wake up like you’re sunk in the bed. It’s brutal.”
Jaime Jarrin, 82, the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame broadcaster, said that he too had experienced that feeling.
“I am with Ross,” Jarrin tweeted. “Those beds give me some discomfort in my lower back.”
Yasiel Puig is expected to learn Thursday whether the league will suspend him for his Tuesday night skirmish with San Francisco Giants catcher Nick Hundley.
Puig said he would appeal any suspension. He also said that, if he is suspended, Hundley also should be suspended.
Puig shoved Hundley after the catcher stood up and objected to an expletive Puig uttered after fouling off a pitch.
Puig said his frustration was directed at himself for missing a hittable pitch, not at Hundley or Giants pitcher Tony Watson. Said Hundley: “We had some words and pushed a couple of times.”
After the benches cleared, Puig reached around one of the Dodgers coaches to take another swipe at Hundley.
Roberts said he believed Hundley’s words instigated the incident. Hundley was ejected, as was Puig.
“Do I wish he could have stayed in the game? Absolutely,” Roberts said. “That’s the part I’m going to talk to Yasiel about. He’s more valuable in the game than out of the game.”
Kenley Jansen pitched the equivalent of one inning off the Dodger Stadium mound, two days after throwing a bullpen session. Jansen is on the disabled list after an episode of atrial fibrillation in Denver last Thursday.
Doctors there shocked his heart back into normal rhythm, and he is on blood thinners that do not require him to refrain from physical exertion.
“We want to keep him away from a baseball hitting him,” Roberts said, “or any type of trauma.”