Dodgers call up Zach Neal to aid pitching staff after 15-inning loss
The miracle of childbirth aided the Dodgers on Tuesday. A day after a 15-inning loss to Arizona that lasted 5 hours 46 minutes, the team needed to add a pitcher to its roster but lacked one they wanted to send to the minors to create space.
An opening arrived from an unlikely source: Reliever Josh Fields left the team to be with his wife, Brittney, as she gave birth to their first child.
“That’s a win-win for everyone,” manager Dave Roberts said before Tuesday’s game against the Diamondbacks. “Josh is en route right now. We wish the Fieldses well. And we expect to get him back here on Friday, in San Francisco.”
With Fields on the paternity list, the Dodgers called up right-hander Zach Neal. To make room on the 40-man roster for Neal, the team designated pitcher Jesus Liranzo for assignment. The Dodgers acquired Liranzo from Baltimore on Monday.
The Dodgers required an extra arm because their long reliever, Wilmer Font, pitched 4 1/3 innings in Monday’s 8-7 defeat. He entered the game in the 10th inning and did not depart until giving up a walk-off single to backup catcher Jeff Mathis. After four scoreless innings, Font could not protect a one-run lead created by a run-scoring single by Chase Utley in the top of the 15th.
If the game had gone to the 16th, Roberts would have used a position player to pitch. His first choice was Joc Pederson. His next choice was Yasiel Puig. If either had gone to the mound, Roberts planned to use Kenta Maeda as the replacement in the outfield.
Roberts said he was intrigued about the prospect of Puig pitching.
“I think he would be straight as a string,” Roberts said. “I think it would come with some pretty good velocity. I think for me the worry is that he would try to over-exert himself, and come up sore, let alone injured. But it would be kind of comical for me.”
Yankees claim Trayce Thompson
Former Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was designated for assignment last week, was claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees.
Thompson, 27, is the son of former Laker Mychal and the brother of current Golden State Warriors star Klay.
Thompson hit 13 home runs in 2016 before a back fracture ended his campaign. He struggled at the plate throughout 2017. He posted a .483 on-base-plus-slugging percentage last season.
Out of minor league options heading into this season, Thompson could not crack the Dodgers opening-day roster. The team already had a slew of right-handed-hitting outfielders such as Puig, Chris Taylor and Matt Kemp.
Thompson joins a Yankees team that has suffered a few injuries to its outfield in the early going of this season. The team lost outfielders Aaron Hicks and Billy McKinney during the first series of the season.
Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter @McCulloughTimes
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