By shipping 19-year-old rookie Julio Urias to the minors Friday, the Dodgers reduced their starting rotation to a four-man unit. So they will remain, perhaps until the first weekend in August, as the team awaits clarity on Clayton Kershaw’s health.
The schedule created an opportunity for the team. The Dodgers will not play next Monday or Thursday, with a two-game series against Tampa Bay sandwiched in between. After a three-game set against Arizona, the Dodgers will not play Aug. 1. Thus a fifth starter will not be necessary until later that week, when the Red Sox arrive at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 5.
“That’s the plan for right now,” Manager Dave Roberts said before Friday’s game against St. Louis. “I don’t know if we’re going to bring another guy up. I know it’s not going to be Julio if we bring someone up.”
Roberts reserved the right to recall another arm in case the team wanted to give extra rest to Brandon McCarthy, who underwent Tommy John surgery last season, and Kenta Maeda, who was accustomed to a six-day schedule in Japan. The team could also add a starter before the trade deadline Aug. 1.
Urias will return to the bullpen for triple-A Oklahoma City. The Dodgers hope to preserve his innings. Austin Barnes, the catcher who can also play the infield, took his roster spot.
Puig back Sunday?
Yasiel Puig sat out Friday due to tightness in his right hamstring. Roberts felt hopeful that Puig would not require an extended absence, or another stint on the disabled list. He hoped to return Puig to the lineup Sunday.
The training staff watched Puig test himself by running in the outfield before Friday’s game. Roberts felt with the intense heat and humidity expected at Busch Field, it would be dangerous to risk exposing Puig to further injury.