In need of a fresh arm and length out of their bullpen after a marathon three-game series against the Boston Red Sox, the Dodgers designated left-hander Zac Rosscup for assignment and recalled right-hander Casey Sadler from triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday.
Los Angeles acquired Sadler from the Tampa Bay Rays on July 3. A former starter, Sadler allowed four earned runs across nine appearances in three major league stints with the Rays and posted a 2.76 earned-run average in 11 outings for triple-A Durham this season before his trade. Eight of his nine appearances for the Rays were for at least two innings. He surrendered four runs in six innings in two three-inning outings for Oklahoma City before his promotion.
“He can give us length,” Roberts said.
It is the fourth time a club has designated Rosscup for assignment since November. The Dodgers have done it twice. The 31-year-old pitched in seven games for Los Angeles and allowed two earned runs. His last outing, Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, highlighted the Dodgers’ glaring need for bullpen reinforcements as loudly as at any point this season. With the score tied in the ninth inning, Rosscup, the only left-handed reliever available, was called on to face the left-handed-hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. He walked him on four pitches.
Rosscup’s departure leaves the Dodgers without a situational left-hander in their bullpen. Julio Urias, the only left-hander remaining, is used for multiple innings and is given substantial rest between appearances as the Dodgers continue to curtail his workload. Urias, for example, wasn’t available Sunday or Monday after throwing 19 pitches in two innings Saturday.
Roberts said the lack of left-handers won’t be a handicap. He pointed to Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia as options against left-handed hitters. Both own reverse splits. Baez’s splits are stark; he has held left-handed batters to a .382 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 81 plate appearances and right-handed batters to a .724 OPS in 85 plate appearances.
“Optically, it’s obviously not how you construct it, but we’re all about getting outs and the best way to do it,” Roberts said. “And right now, it’s not having a lefty outside of Julio on the roster.”
Baez was tipping pitches
In the eighth inning Sunday, after Baez gave up consecutive home runs on three pitches to fumble away the Dodgers’ two-run lead, Roberts walked to the mound for a chat.
He put his right arm around Baez and his left around catcher Russell Martin and spoke. It was unusual. Rarely does Roberts emerge without taking the ball from his pitcher. It turns out, Roberts went out to inform Baez the Dodgers believed he was tipping pitches. Baez struck out the next three batters. Roberts said the problem had surfaced for Baez before and it is something they will monitor.
“When guys are taking swings like that off him, in different locations, there’s a red flag,” Roberts said. “So I’m glad we detected it.”